The agent of controversy didn’t fail to infect the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. From the get go rumors were trending that the whole event might drown in jeopardy because of instability, health concerns and economic problems.
Among the various issues faced by the Olympics, one has been the backlash from the public health campaigners. Their ire is against the allowance of heavy marketing and advertisement from junk food corporations such as Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and McDonald’s throughout the event.
This is worrying nutritionists and health campaigners worldwide who have started a campaign to raise funds and awareness about the role of fast food and fizzy drinks in fueling obesity among children and adults alike. About 30% of Brazilian children aged 11 to 14 are already overweight, according to one study conducted in 2013. The commercial advertisement of high sugary cereals and burgers with high salt content from Kellogg’s and McDonald’s during Rio Olympics is doing nothing but inflating these already concerning figures. Tilakavati Karupaiah, a PhD in University of Malaysia, discussed how these corporations utilize their massive resources to counteract any of the efforts being made in creating a healthy food lifestyle for the populace.
“Our own and our government’s efforts to continue to get important health messages across are threatened by the millions of dollars spent on marketing campaigns for junk food and sugary drinks.”
Olympics is itself a mega platform which if used correctly can bring about a substantial change in this world of troubles, since the event is broadcasted and viewed by millions across the world. It makes sense as to why such companies will give millions (McDonald’s gave £75 million to extend their contract with Olympics till 2020) to become sponsors. Yet, with such high rates of obesity, especially in children, shouldn’t such platforms be used to promote causes that will alleviate conditions such as obesity from the world, instead of giving the stage to multi-million companies who will sell their products regardless of the negatives associated with it?