Across the pond, the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games is lining up official sponsors to help pay for the coming sporting spectacle. They recently signed Cadbury, the British confectioner that produces Creme Eggs and Dairy Milk chocolate. Predictably, England’s National Obesity Forum is less than thrilled.
Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: "I would be very concerned that it [Cadbury sponsoring the Games] is encouraging children to eat chocolate because it is all part of the promotion of unhealthy food to children.
"Whether you like it or not, children of a certain [age], around seven or eight, are extremely impressionable about the message they get from advertising."
Talk about an overreaction. The National Obesity Forum overlooks the fact that Cadbury also manufactures Trident chewing gum, Hall’s cough drops, and Clorets breath mints. And until earlier this year, it also made Snapple and Mott’s fruit juices, which the food cops could hardly call "unhealthy."
The chocolate maker, by the way, isn’t planning an Olympic ad campaign featuring the hot fudge training diet or a marshmallow relay race. It’s pledging to emphasize the importance of youth sports programs and community engagement. (Oh, the horror!)
All this criticism has needlessly put Olympic organizers on the defensive, despite their status as the world’s most high-profile promoters of athletics. The committee has organized a camp at every Olympic games since 1952, where young people from all over the world play sports and learn what it means to be an Olympic athlete.
As soon as the National Obesity Forum starts its own aggressive promotion of physical activity and healthy lifestyles, we’ll be happy to listen to its pleasureless kvetching. But until then, it’s just bad form.