May 17th ;; By Kristina Sperkova and Labran Musa

Alcohol endorsements from celebrities increase the risk of alcohol use and harm among teenagers.

IN 2020, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a scientific analysis of the future of the world’s children.

With this analysis they revealed the two main crises threatening the health and future of children in every country: The first is the climate emergency that is rapidly undermining the future survival of all species, and where the likelihood of a world in which all children enjoy their right to health appears increasingly out of reach.

The second existential threat is more insidious: predatory commercial exploitation that is encouraging harmful and addictive activities that are extremely deleterious to young people’s health.

In The Lancet, the world’s most prestigious medical journal, Unicef and the WHO wrote:

“Companies make huge profits from marketing products directly to children and promoting addictive or unhealthy commodities, including fast foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, alcohol, and tobacco, all of which are major causes of non-communicable diseases.”

At the same time as recognition of the harm caused by alcohol companies and their marketing practices is growing, celebrities are accelerating their alcohol promotions.

Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Reynolds, Dua Lipa, Emma Watson and many more have endorsement deals with Big Alcohol or have their own alcohol brands and are promoting them through their social media channels — where they reach millions of children and young people.

The conflict between promoting child rights, health, and development on the one hand and making money through promoting and selling more alcohol on the other hand is embodied by David Beckham. He is a Unicef goodwill ambassador but also collaborates with Big Alcohol giant Diageo.

In Ghana, the west African country of 33,5 million people, this conflict is playing out in public as celebrities took the government to court seeking to overturn a ban on alcohol promotions by celebrities.

Read more about what’s going on in Ghana

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