Responding to the release of data showing the rate of overweight or obese children has increased to one in three amongst school children in the last year of primary school, London Assembly Member Jenny Jones is making a renewed call on the Mayor of London to use his powers to block future sporting events such as the London 2017 World Athletics Championships from being sponsored by companies associated with products linked to childhood obesity.
Jenny Jones said:
“Despite his new powers to tackle obesity, Boris Johnson has been reluctant to take on one of the key contributors to obesity, the marketing of junk food and drink to children, particularly when they are associated with sport”
Jenny is available for interview
1) Figures released by National Obesity Observatory http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/dec/12/primary-school-children-obesity-weight
2) The full text of the motion agreed at the 20th June London Assembly Plenary meeting and Boris Johnson’s response:
“The Assembly calls on:
a) The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to recommend that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduces criteria for the selection of world wide sponsors for future Games that exclude food and drinks companies strongly associated with high calorie brands and products linked to childhood obesity, and to encourage national organising committees to adopt similar criteria;
b) The Mayor of London to encourage the organisers of future major sporting events in London to adopt criteria for appointment of sponsors that exclude such food and drinks companies; and
c) The Government to consider introducing restrictions on advertising and exclusive marketing at major sporting events by such food and drinks companies.”
Boris Johnson’s response to this motion was received in a letter to the Chair of the London Assembly, dated 17th September. The relevant paragraph of the letter reads:
I have been pleased to see that all food and drink sponsors associated with the Games are promoting messages about the importance of a balanced diet and benefits of regular exercise. I understand that Lord Coe has asked McDonald’s and Coca-Cola to forward more detailed information about their activation programmes to you and your Assembly Member colleagues. I am of course mindful of the rising issue of obesity in London and will strive as far as possible alongside major stakeholders to ensure that the sponsors of future big sporting events in London are fully committed to the philosophy of healthy eating.
3) Jenny Jones’s written question at July 2012, Mayors Question Time:
London 2017 World Athletics Championships
Question No: 1900 / 2012
Question by Jenny Jones AM
As a partner in these championships, can you tell me when food and drink sponsors and/or partners will be selected, and what the process will be?
Written response from the Mayor
UK Athletics (UKA) will lead discussions on the sponsorship strategy with the IAAF and its global marketing partner, Dentsu, over the coming months and into 2013. The GLA will be regularly briefed on this, as joint signatory of the 2017 Event Organisation Agreement with UKA.
London 2017 Ltd., the organising committee for the Championships, will not enter the market in search of sponsors until these discussions are complete and it is then likely to take some time to conclude any negotiations and reach agreement with potential sponsors.