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Obesity & Fast Food/Non-Alcoholic Sponsorship of Sporting Events: A Moral Dilemma

Obesity & Fast Food/Non-Alcoholic Sponsorship of Sporting Events: A Moral Dilemma. Dr. Karen Danylchuk The University of Western Ontario London, Canada. Challenges and Dilemmas Facing Sport Managers Regarding Partnerships. Challenges lead to dilemmas Dilemmas = “perplexing situations”

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Obesity & Fast Food/Non-Alcoholic Sponsorship of Sporting Events: A Moral Dilemma

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  1. Obesity & Fast Food/Non-Alcoholic Sponsorship of Sporting Events: A Moral Dilemma Dr. Karen Danylchuk The University of Western Ontario London, Canada

  2. Challenges and Dilemmas Facing Sport Managers Regarding Partnerships • Challenges lead to dilemmas • Dilemmas = “perplexing situations” • Dilemmas are often “ethical” (what is right?)

  3. Dilemmas • Who should our organizations partner with in their day-to-day operations? • Should there be any restrictions? • Who should sponsor our sporting events? • Who should make these decisions?

  4. Current Status of Sport Industry • Sport has become a giant industry • Increases in interest & opportunities for participation & spectatorship for a diversity of groups has lead to corresponding increase in goods & services • Recreation & leisure sports the largest segment with university sport a large sub-segment

  5. Organizations require funding

  6. The “Corporatization” of the University • Universities form external partnerships with the corporate community • Commercial involvement = reality & often a necessity

  7. To what extent is this involvement appropriate & ethical? • Fear of loss of control & compromise of educational principles

  8. Examples of Commercial Involvement • Donors get their names on buildings, faculties, institutes, etc. • Research support (e.g, pharmaceutical companies)

  9. Intercollegiate Athletics

  10. Who is an appropriate partner? • Increased reliance on corporate support

  11. The Case of Tobacco & Alcohol • Conflicting debate • Alcohol is more socially acceptable

  12. Opponents • Hypocritical to use a productthat is detrimental to one’s health to promote an activity that exemplifies a healthy & fit lifestyle • Concern with exposing young people

  13. Proponents • Sport event organizers believe banning these types of sponsors will lead to the loss of their event • Tobacco & alcohol companies want exposure, brand awareness, sales

  14. Current Status • Legislation in some countries to regulate the involvement of tobacco & alcohol sponsors • Canada, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom, France …

  15. Food & non-alcoholic beverage sponsorship & its link to obesity: Is it any worse than tobacco or alcohol?

  16. Status of Obesity Worldwide • #1 health issue in many countries (WHO, 2006) • Epidemic, pandemic, “globesity”, “diabesity” • Heart disease, diabetes …

  17. State Comparisons (CDC’s BRFSS, 2007) • Colorado lowest (18.7%) • New Hampshire 17th (24.4%) • Mississippi highest (32%)

  18. Obesity Trends Among Canadian Adults 1985-1998(Can. Health Promotion Surveys)

  19. (Canadian Community Health Survey, 2004) • Obese Canadian adult numbers have doubled since the late 1970s and adolescent numbers have tripled • Rates are similar in boys and girls • For 2-5 yr olds, rates are unchanged from 1978/79 • Canadians have slightly lower obesity rates than U.S. • 1 in 4 Canadian children is obese. • 20% adults in cities & 30% in rural areas are obese

  20. International Obesity Task Force (2006) • Parents will have higher life expectancy than their children • Prevalence of obesity increased in all countries studied • Percentages of overweight children expected to increase in poorer countries • Infiltration of Western fast food outlets & habits • Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Egypt comparable to industrialized countries • By 2010, 1 in 5 children will be overweight in China • India has a problem despite 45% malnutrition amongst children (World Bank, 2005) • Japan & Korea lowest

  21. Conclusion • obesity is EVERYWHERE, even in developing countries • children are exposed to world’s marketing power, primarily through advertising • emphasize prevention rather than treatment

  22. Measures to Combat Obesity • Public awareness & education • School cafeterias • Physical education • Tax breaks for parents • Labelling • Pricing structures • Advertising legislation • Health policies & strategies

  23. The Premise • If type of product used as a sponsor influences consumers, then having sponsors linked to less healthy food & drink may contribute to obesity

  24. Is this morally & ethically responsible?Is this socially responsible?

  25. Corporate Social Responsibility • GlobeScan research done for Hewlett-Packard Canada Co. in Mar. 2007 • 92% people surveyed said they are more likely to purchase products from companies that are socially & environmentally responsible • 91% people prefer to work for the same • Bottom line is companies must embrace CSR & make it part of their brand message

  26. Purpose of this Study • Garner consumer opinion toward food (healthy & non-healthy choice) & beverage (non-alcoholic) sponsorship of sporting events -Tobacco & alcohol also under study • Determine the viewpoints according to behavioral (smoking, drinking, exercise habits) & demographic (gender, age, educational background) variables

  27. Research Questions • Are food & beverage products appropriate sponsors for sporting events? • Is there any distinction between the types of food & beverage products (i.e., healthy vs non-healthy) in regard to sponsorship? • Is food & beverage viewed any differently than tobacco & alcohol as sponsors? • Should government legislation control the involvement of these sponsors?

  28. Two Phases of the Study • Phase 1 = quantitative approach using a written survey • Phase 2 = qualitative approach using focus groups

  29. Phase 1 – Written Survey • Written survey (N = 253) • University students • Fitness club members • Older adults

  30. Comparison of Sponsors • Attitudes towards food/non-alcoholic beverages more favourable than alcohol & tobacco • Most appropriate: water, sport drinks, energy bars, cereal, juice, tea/coffee • Least appropriate: tobacco, wine, liquor, fast food, beer

  31. Best Sponsors? • Sporting goods (57%) • Sport drinks & water (52%) • Healthier type foods (24%) • Financial institutions (19%)

  32. Worst Sponsors? • Tobacco (60%) • Liquor (29%) • Fast food (23%)

  33. Government Legislation? • Not in favour

  34. Suitability of Sponsors • Varying opinions • Harmful health effects of tobacco & alcohol • Negative impact on athletes • Consumer’s “choice”

  35. Phase 2 – Focus Groups • 2 focus groups (N = 12) • students, professors, coaches, athlete, personal trainer, hospital administrator, physicians, event coordinator, marketing coordinator, sponsor

  36. Decision on Type of Sponsor • Potential $ of sponsor • “fit” or “match” • Company’s corporate image • Company’s beliefs, business ethics, values

  37. Suitability of a Sponsor • Sport connection? Any “match”? • Suitability to the audience • Suitability to the athlete (i.e., healthy connection grounded in good research) • Company’s corporate image • Evaluate degree of “harm”

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