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Perceptions towards unhealthy food sponsorship in junior sports in Victoria, Australia
journal contributionposted on 2023-04-26, 05:03 authored by Christina ZorbasChristina Zorbas, Florentine MartinoFlorentine Martino, T Heneghan, J Potter, M Chisholm, Adrian CameronAdrian Cameron, Gary SacksGary Sacks, Jaithri AnanthapavanJaithri Ananthapavan, Kathryn BackholerKathryn Backholer
Objective: To explore Victorian parents’ and club officials’ engagement with, and attitudes towards, the sponsorship of junior sports by unhealthy food and beverage companies. Methods: We conducted online surveys with 504 parents of children participating in junior sports and 16 semi-structured interviews with junior sports club officials (from clubs that accepted unhealthy food sponsorship) in Victoria, Australia. Results: Most parents were concerned about children's exposure to sponsorship by unhealthy local (58% extremely, very or moderately concerned) and large food companies (63%) in junior sports. The views of sporting club officials were grouped into four themes: (1) the existing funding challenges for junior sports, (2) how junior sports sponsorship is community dependent, (3) how the perceived risks of sponsorship by unhealthy food companies are low and (4) the need for high-level regulations and support to transition towards healthier junior sports sponsorship. Conclusions: Transitioning towards healthier junior sports sponsorship may be hindered by insufficient funding models and low concern for such actions by community leaders. Implications for Public Health: Policy actions from higher-level sporting governing bodies and governments are likely to be necessary to reduce harmful junior sports sponsorship, alongside restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods through other media and settings.