When we think about professional sports, we associate them with physical activity, healthy nutrition, discipline, focus, winning, and success. Athletes are extremely fit and in most cases, eat a balanced diet and are focused, disciplined, with a winning mentality. So we now ask ourselves – how can they be contributing to growing obesity in the US that takes over 360,000 lives a year?
Most people have a favorite sports team, or even several. Whether it is football, baseball, basketball, tennis, boxing or soccer you enjoy, as the temperatures outside change, so do the sports seasons – bringing a renewed sense of excitement, hope, and fun social settings.
In reality, sports fans are the ones who are not getting physical activity, healthy nutrition, and the benefits from living an athletes life. Instead, in stadiums and parties across America, they are exposed to copious amounts of beer, fried foods, refined sugars, fatty meats and other unhealthy and processed concessions. It is extremely hard – almost impossible – to find healthy, balanced options at professional sports venues. Considering that sports are associated with healthy minds, healthy bodies, healthy spirits, this contradiction is not serving our society in the best way, especially our children, who are the future of our country.
How many billions of dollars are the NBA, NFL, MLB, FIFA, WWE, and NHL making off of unhealthy promotions at the expense of our health? I’m sure the gentlemen in charge are aware of this and still pursue the same bottom line. Because it comes down to the fact that two-thirds of a facility’s concession revenues come from hot dogs, peanuts, and that the margin on drinks is the highest at over 90%.
What we, here at Health Fitness Revolution find alarming is that most sports have sponsors that are fast food, soda, and junk food companies. The 2012 London Olympics were even partnered with McDonald’s and for this year’s World Cup, FIFA’s partners include soda giant Coca-Cola, while its sponsors include fast-food firm McDonald’s and beer company Budweiser! Which brings us to ask the question: are professional sports making us fat?
According to the Department of Nutrition at the University of São Paulo’s School of Public Health in Brazil, yes. It says such sponsors “represent a direct attack” on worldwide efforts to reduce consumption of unhealthy food and drink in order to tackle increasing obesity rates. Since 1980, the rates of worldwide obesity have almost doubled. In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults were overweight or obese. As of 2012, more than 40 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese.
Obesity costs America $190 billion annually in added medical costs and America’s favorite pastimes should be conscious of not contributing to this further. Considering that our founder Samir Becic was a professional athlete, he understands that these leagues can be doing more to promote health and even says “Professional sports can be a driving force for healthy lifestyle in the United States.” Here is how:
- Of the fast food sponsors – promote the healthy options available on their menus
- Get more health-conscious sponsors
- Offer healthier options in the venues – more grilled, lean proteins, complex carbs etc.
- Displaying the nutritional value of all food and drinks in large so that patrons know what they are really consuming
- Promote physical activity among the sports fans – so that they are not only fans, but are a part of a healthier agenda
- Motivate vendors to sell healthy foods – since they work on commission, offer them a higher commission structure for healthier foods.
- Motivate athletes to promote healthy lifestyle.
“With physical fitness, healthy nutrition, and spiritual, social, and mental balance, we can manage, control, or completely avoid 60-70% of chronic illnesses”- Samir Becic
HOW MUCH FOOD IS CONSUMED ON SUPERBOWL SUNDAY ?
- 8 million: Total pounds of popcorn consumed.
- 28 million: Pounds of potato chips consumed.
- 11.8: Depth, in feet, of guacamole consumed if it were spread across the football field.
- 293,000: Number of miles of potato chips, laid end to end, consumed during the game.
- 1 billion: Number of chicken wings consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.
- 325.5 million: Gallons of beer drank by Americans that day.
- 493: Number of Olympic-sized swimming pools that could be filled with all that beer.
- 20%: Increase in ant-acid sales the Monday after the game.
- Fans spent $2.37 million on soda.
- Dominos delivered 11 million slices of pizza.