Many years ago Chevrolet created a TV ad with a song that included the words, “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and …..Chevrolet.” The concept was to highlight American essentials, parts of our culture that we enjoy, and certainly the foods they mention and the pastime baseball have permeated our American core for many, many decades. More interesting to me is a different connection; sports and food, unhealthy food.
I don’t need to cite obesity statistics. Thanks to national attention, pretty much everyone knows that currently there is an obesity crisis among adults and children. So if you are lucky enough to have a kid willing or interested in after school or weekend sports, then your child or teen is engaged in exercise activities that will actually help to thwart or at minimum reduce the risk of obesity. If your child is already overweight, then these activities may in time, help him to shed pounds and move towards a more normal and healthy weight range. These kids fall outside the norm, because most kids are not moving a whole lot. So far so good in terms of the impact of this exercise on health and weight, until the parents get involved. Parents across the nation have typically decided that the before and after snacks of choice can be caloric and even downright unhealthy (in many cases). Parents supply fast food, sugary drinks, processed junk food as the menu of choice. From their perspective the child is exercising, so they need calories. And after all, it's important for them to want the calories, so parents choose the foods kids have learned to love. Those foods and beverages are mostly calorie dense and frankly unhealthy. Recent news coverage offers stories of renegade parents who try to push an agenda of healthier food and the negative response they get….from other parents. So here's a situation where we have kids engaged with calorie-burning movement and adults deciding that instead of creating a calorie deficit, or offering portion controlled healthy snacks and drinks (as in water), they'll offer unhealthy snacks and drinks as the menu of choice. Sports and unhealthy foods going hand in hand.
Sports viewing in a stadium
If you are a sports enthusiast, then chances are you’re also a spectator at baseball, hockey, football or baseball games in a stadium or arena setting. There you're exposed to a plethora of food ads, for mostly unhealthy foods, and you can mostly buy….unhealthy foods and beverages. Those items typically come in gargantuan portions, and thanks to the unrelenting excitement of the game, you are oblivious to the amounts of these unhealthy foods you consume during a game. By the time you do begin to sense the impact of non-stop consumption of these high calorie-high fat- high salt- high sugar foods and beverages, your belly is straining against your waistband. If you hang in the local sports bar, you’ve probably consumed a huge amount of alcohol calories along with a never-ending array of appetizers and foods. As a reference, the Super Bowl is the second heaviest day of the year for consumption of food (Thanksgiving ranks as #1). So why, ask some experts from the Indiana University School of Public Health in Bloomington, are we not targeting the concession chains at sports events, and sports bars, when it comes to fulfilling the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act? Legislation now requires chain stores to post calories and nutritionals nationwide, but we seem to have skipped over these arenas and venues that promote obesity-type eating. Sports and unhealthy eating go hand in hand.