The Lancet, the premier British medical journal, said in an article entitled Chariots of Fries, that the Olympics should encourage physical activity, promote healthy living and inspire the next generation to exercise. “However, marring this healthy vision has been the choice of junk food and drink giants, – McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Cadbury’s – as major sponsors.”
“Health campaigners have rightly been dismayed. On June 20, the London Assembly (an elected body that scrutinizes the work of the Mayor of London) passed a motion urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to adopt strict sponsorship criteria that exclude food and drinks companies strongly associated with high calorie brands and products linked to childhood obesity. Meanwhile, the UK’s Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has said that the presence of McDonald’s and Coca-Cola at the 2012 Games sends out the wrong message to children.”
The Lancet took exception to the “perfect snack” offered by Cadbury’s and McDonald’s – a chocolate bar – ice cream concoction with a whopping 395 calories per serving.
Writing in the Huffington Post blog, Michael F. Jacobson, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest, said, “How ironic! The global event that showcases the fittest people on the planet is bankrolled — to the tune of about $4 billion — by companies whose foods undermine our health. Major sponsors pay roughly $100 million and provide 40 percent of Olympics revenues. And that won’t change until at least 2020. But the obesity epidemic is leading some to recognize the irony.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not appreciated criticism of its major money sponsors. “We are proud to work with both…”, said IOC president Jacques Rogge, adding that sponsorship agreements were in place until 2020 with both companies.