Washington : A new study says majority of the food and beverage products marketed by some of the most popular music stars are unhealthy.
Researchers from the NYU Langone Medical Center found that soda and other sugary drinks, fast food and sweets are among the most common food and beverage products endorsed by famous music personalities.
Lead author Marie Bragg, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone, conducted a study three years ago of celebrity athlete endorsements using similar methods.
Bragg, who is also a faculty member at the NYU College of Global Public Health, said it is very important to raise awareness about how the companies are using celebrities popular with these audiences to market their unhealthy products, adding the research has already shown that food advertising leads to overeating and the food industry spends 1.8 billion dollars per year marketing to youth alone.
To identify popular music stars, the investigators went through Billboard Magazine’s “Hot 100” song charts from 2013 and 2014. The researchers also verified their popularity and marketing appeal with teens by reviewing Teen Choice Award winners and quantified the number of YouTube video views associated with the celebrities’ food and non-alcoholic beverage brand endorsements.
The investigators then catalogued every endorsement between 2000 and 2014 using AdScope, an advertisement database that contains all forms of ads, including television, magazine and radio. They also searched for official commercials or endorsements on YouTube and in media sources. Endorsements were defined to include a celebrity’s participation in a concert sponsored by a product.
After sorting the endorsements into different marketing categories, the authors found that 65 of 163 identified pop stars were associated with 57 different food and beverage brands. Food and nonalcoholic beverages were the second-largest endorsement category, comprising 18 percent of endorsements and ranking after consumer goods at 26 percent and ahead of retail at 11 percent.
Alysa N. Miller, MPH, study co-author and research coordinator in the Department of Population Health, said the popularity of music celebrities among adolescents makes them uniquely poised to serve as positive role models.
He said the celebrities should be aware that their endorsements could exacerbate society’s struggle with obesity and added they should instead endorse healthy products.
The study is published in Pediatrics journal. (ANI)