New Olympic boss challenged on junk food sponsorship

Public health campaigners issue a challenge to Thomas Back, the new president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Responding to the election today of Thomas Back as the new president of the International Olympic Committee, Malcolm Clark, coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, said: ‘The world is facing an obesity crisis of epidemic proportions, with more people now overweight than underweight globally, including in poor countries that do not have the money and health services to tackle diet-related disease.

‘The Olympic movement has the potential to work with athletes to inspire a new generation to get fit and eat well. Yet the International Olympic Committee persists in giving fizzy drink and junk food companies such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s an unrivalled platform to promote their brands and their sugary and fatty products in multi-million pound sponsorship deals that link sport to less than healthy eating habits. Despite acknowledging the harm to the IOC’s aims and reputation, the previous president of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, renewed these sponsorship deals to last until at least 2020.

‘We challenge Thomas Back to show that he acknowledges the power of the Olympic brand and cares about children’s health. We call on Mr Back to take a more robust and responsible approach than his predecessor and change the IOC’s sponsorship programme, so that the Olympic movement can truly be seen as an inspirational beacon for better health in the world.’

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