Objective To determine parents’ and children's attitudes towards food, beverage and alcohol sponsorship of elite and children's sports and the acceptability of policies and alternative funding models to limit this sponsorship.
Design Telephone surveys were conducted with parents in February–May 2011. One child from each household was invited to complete an online survey. Surveys assessed parents’ perceptions about the influence of sponsorship on children and support for limiting sponsorship, and children's awareness of and attitudes towards sponsors.
Setting Randomly sampled households in New South Wales, Australia.
Subjects Parents (n 825) and children aged 10–16 years (n 243).
Results Three-quarters of parents supported the introduction of policies to restrict unhealthy food, beverage and alcohol sponsorship of children's and elite sports. More parents (81 %) supported the introduction of alternative funding models to allow these companies to sponsor sport provided there was no visible branding. Two-thirds of children recalled sponsors of their favourite elite sports team/athlete, with 428 sponsors recalled. Of these, 11 % were food/beverage companies and 3 % were alcohol-related. For 39 % of sponsors, children reported feeling better about the company after it had sponsored a team/athlete.
Conclusions Australian parents support restrictions on unhealthy food, beverage and alcohol sport sponsorship. Children's positive associations regarding sponsors are likely to be linked to brand preferences and usage.