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Study finds that pop stars are seriously bad for your health

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Chris Sayer
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You don’t need to be Dr. Christian Jessen to know that the world’s biggest pop stars don’t get their magazine-cover bodies through gorging on entire share bags of Doritos and washing it down with litres of Pepsi.

But based on the brands these superstars advertise on our screens, you may start thinking otherwise.

A study released this week in the journal Pediatrics found that almost every single food or drink endorsed by a musician that made it onto the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013 and 2014 was seriously bad for your health. 

Results showed that a massive 80% of the products promoted by the celebs were classed as ‘nutrient poor’, with energy drinks, soft drinks, snack foods and fast food the main offenders.

The guys who are really keeping the (fizzy) ‘pop’ in pop music?

Take a bow, will.i.am. The The Voice judge has peddled the wares of Doritos, Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola and Pepsi. His fellow on-screen judge, Jessie J, has pocketed cash from Pop Tarts, McDonald’s and Cadbury’s. Wow, the canteen at that telly show must be utter filth.

Then there's Harlem Shake maker Baauer, who worked with Dr. Pepper, Hot Pockets, Red Bull, and Pepsi; Justin Timberlake's relationships with Pepsi and McDonald's; and Britney Spears' money-making for Pepsi and McDonald's also.

Okay, so it's not really a huge surprise to hear that multi-billion dollar sugar-water or cheap burger companies are using the most famous faces on the planet to big-up their products. It's happened for ages. What's the big deal? Well, the vast majority of these pop star-fronted commercials are targeted directly at kids and adolescents.

In America, more than a third of those in these age groups are classed as overweight or obese. Throw in the fact that almost $2 billion is spent by the food and beverage industry to market products to kids, with less than 1% of that amount spent on promoting fruits and vegetables, and you can see why the study connects childhood obesity with food and beverage marketing. This is why First Lady Michelle Obama is leading a campaign to address the advertising agency's dirty little secret with her FNV campaign.

But let's not lump all the chart-toppers into one junk food-filled boat. Gangnam Style goliath Psy has endorsed antioxidant-rich pistachios, and Shakira’s hips weren’t lying when she was paid to rave about healthy Activia yogurt. 

Moral of the story? Well, it's what we knew all along - will.i.am is bad for your health.

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Chris Sayer

Chris Sayer is a freelance journalist and editor based in London. Chris has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment and travelled the world doing an all manner of adventures for lots of brilliant magazines. He writes for Shortlist about booze but would probably prefer we let him write about fishing instead. Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisSayer00

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