THE International Olympic Committee has questioned whether high-calorie brands such as McDonald’s should be allowed to sponsor the Olympic Games amid growing concerns about the global obesity crisis.
Weighing up the financial support of these sponsors versus public health interests has been a “difficult decision” for the Committee.
In an interview with the UK’s Financial Times, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge said global obesity concerns had put a “question mark” over the sponsorship of the Olympics by brands such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.
“For those companies, we’ve said to them: ‘Listen, there is an issue in terms of the growing trend on obesity, what are you going to do about that?’” Mr Rogge told the Financial Times.
Michael Moore, chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia, said Australia was in the top range of countries for obesity levels and advertising foods that were high in energy and low in nutrients to young people was a big part of the problem.
“It’s time to separate junk food from sport,” Mr Moore told news.com.au. “The nexus is entirely inappropriate and we need to begin the process to break it.”
“We need to stop encouraging people to associate sport and physical activity with foods that are part and parcel of getting people fatter,” he said.
McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have been approached for comment, but are yet to respond.
McDonald’s has four restaurants in London’s Olympic Park including its biggest in the world, which seats 1500 customers.
Although most of the IOC’s revenue comes from broadcasting rights ($US3.9 million), a sizeable chunk come from sponsorship receiving about $US957 million from its 11 global sponsors in the four years up to London Olympics.
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