DENVER - Is Peyton Manning, the professional NFL quarterback and namesake of a children's hospital, responsible for making children fat? A new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests he endorsed some of the worst foods.
The study examined 512 brands endorsed by 100 different athletes. Roughly one quarter of those endorsements involved food or beverages.
Manning and Miami Heat star LeBron James were identified as endorsing the most undesirable foods and drinks.
They "had the most endorsements for energy-dense, nutrient-poor products," the study found.
According to Forbes, Manning is the NFL's top product endorser. He earns $12 million a year from endorsement contracts with Buick, Reebok, DirecTV, Gatorade and Papa John's. He also owns 21 Papa John's stores in the Denver area.
Overall, 79 percent of the foods endorsed by athletes were considered "energy-dense and nutrient-poor." More than 93 percent of the endorsed drinks contained added sugar that was responsible for 100 percent of the calories in the bottle.
The authors of the Pediatrics article conclude, "Countries worldwide should consider policies that would restrict food advertisements featuring professional athletes in youth-targeted media."