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Expert Says Ignoring High-Calorie Foods Sold at Sport Events "A Big Mistake"

Update Date: Feb 05, 2013 08:21 AM EST

High-calorie food sold at popular sport events - like during the Super Bowl - and their effects on public health have been overlooked by health agencies, says an expert on sport and fitness marketing.

According to Antonio Williams from Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, though health officials have asked fast food restaurants to post calorie counts on the menu, no such policy has been implemented for snack counters at popular sport events.

The aggressive advertisements of food can tempt many people to eat more of these low-nutrition snacks. According to estimates by the Calorie Control Council (CCC) and Snack Food Association, Americans will chomp down some 30 million pounds of snacks during the big game. Williams added that a third of all advertisements during the Super Bowl involve food.

"The proposed menu labeling regulations, as part of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, overlook sport and sport spectatorship. Stadiums and arenas aren't included. Neither are sports bars or restaurants that are not part of a chain. It's a big mistake. It's no secret that a tremendous amount of food is consumed during sporting events and that fans often are exposed to numerous food-related ads and sponsorship. It's a symbiotic relationship," said Antonio Williams, sport and fitness marketing expert at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington.

Williams said that food giants know how to hard-sell their products and so market their products in a way that covers up for the fact that these are all high-calorie food.

"Some research shows that companies who sell unhealthy products have marketed them effectively by tying them to images or activities that are widely viewed as pure or healthy, like sport," he said.

Williams' article is scheduled to appear in the Loyola Consumer Law Review, according to a news release from Indiana University.

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