Athletes promoting junk food to teens

6:30 AM, Oct 7, 2013   |    comments
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LeBron James and Sprite unveil a refurbished gymnasium at the Boys & Girls Club of Houston on February 16, 2013. (Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

(WXIA) -- Teens are exposed more than any other age group to athlete-endorsed foods.

But most of the time, young people's favorite pros promote junk.

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A new study in Pediatrics looked at more than 500 brands associated with athletes.

LeBron James, Peyton Manning and Serena Williams had the most food and drink endorsements -- and they made up a majority of the marketing campaigns for junk foods.

James can be seen in advertisements for Sprite, McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts; Manning currently stars in a Papa John's commercial; and Williams endorses Oreo cookies.

Doctors say athletes promoting unhealthy foods may be sending mixed messages to kids.

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