Barriers to rejecting junk food sponsorship in sport—a formative evaluation using concept mapping Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES:Energy-dense, nutrient-poor food and drink ('junk food') brands sponsoring sport is a growing public health concern. This study explored sports administrators' perceptions of the barriers to rejecting junk food sponsorship. STUDY DESIGN:This study used concept mapping. METHODS:The Concept Systems Global MAX™ web platform was used to collect and analyse data from 29 sports administrators across all levels of sport in Victoria, Australia. RESULTS:Brainstorming generated 33 barriers to rejecting junk food sponsorship. After the barriers were synthesised and edited, participants sorted and rated 32 barriers. Multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis identified a four-cluster solution: community attitudes and values (seven barriers); junk food is the easy sell (retail; five barriers); financial viability (16 barriers); and organisational capability (policy and governance; four barriers). The financial viability barriers were rated the most important (mean = 3.65 of 5) and the hardest to overcome (1.42). The organisational capability (policy and governance) barriers were rated the least important (2.14) and the easiest to overcome (3.20). CONCLUSIONS:Sports administrators clearly perceive that rejecting junk food sponsorship could place significant financial strain on their organisations. There appears to be considerable scope to build the capacity of sporting organisations to rejecting junk food sponsorship. Despite the literature indicating that most parents think junk food companies are not suitable sponsors, sports administrators perceive that there is a broad public acceptance of junk food sponsorship in sport. The fact that sports administrators perceive a link between junk food sponsorship and the lack of healthy options at club canteens and venue food outlets adds an additional, not previously identified, level of complexity to the junk food sponsorship in sport debate.

publication date

  • 2019