How to Prevent Celeb Endorsements from Hurting Teen Health


Justin Timberlake. Pitbull. Jessie J. These are the artists that infiltrate the entertainment world with their music, fashion sense, and larger-than-life personalities—acquiring a fan base of millions and harboring a near-constant presence in the public eye.

They’re also the celebrities who rack up the most food/non-alcoholic beverage endorsements, according to a new study from NYU Langone Medical Center—and their business decisions could have a detrimental effect on your teen’s health.

Companies are well aware that exposure to food advertisements correlates with excessive consumption of said food, and they spend $2 billion per year on youth targeted advertisements. About 70 percent of celebrity-endorsed nonalcoholic beverages promote sugar-sweetened beverages, and about 80 percent of celebrity-endorsed foods are nutrient-poor.

As parents and teachers, we’re not in a position to alert celebrities of the negative consequences of their endorsement deals (or to persuade them to relinquish the mega bucks they earn from these partnerships). But we are in a position to influence kids to regain control of their eating habits, regardless of what Beyoncé promotes. 

Here’s what we can do:

Get them thinking.

Some teens may not be aware of just how much of an influence celebrities have on our culture. Get them thinking with our Debate: Has Celeb Fandom Gone Too Far?

Get them swapping.

No doubt—junk food is attractive and addicting. But healthy alternatives with more staying power can taste just as great. For starters, introduce your teens to these six easy and healthy recipes that’ll cure their cravings.

Get them moving.

Hanging out on the couch with a bag of chips (while watching TV laden with celeb junk food endorsements) isn’t going to yield any productive results. Encourage your teens to check out our Lazy Teen’s Guide to Fitness, which offers three sneaky tricks to make exercise feel easier.