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McDonald's London Olympics sponsorship under fire from UK doctors

Having fast-food chain McDonald's as an Olympic sponsor sends the wrong message in a country with an obesity crisis, the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges said.

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McDonald's select their Olympic Champion Crew to work in their Olympic Park restaurants at London 2012. (Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

A group of UK doctors have called on the British government to restrict advertising by sponsors McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Heineken during the London Olympics this summer.

Terence Stephenson, a spokesman for the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, told the Associated Press that having fast-food chain McDonald's as an Olympic sponsor is sending the wrong message in a country with a worsening obesity problem.

"It's very sad that an event that celebrates the very best of athletic achievements should be sponsored by companies contributing to the obesity problem and unhealthy habits," Stephenson told the AP. 

But London Olympics organizers said sponsors provide a lion's share of the funding required to host the Games.

More from GlobalPost: World's biggest McDonald's to be built at the Olympics

The London 2012 Olympics will be the ninth games where McDonald’s has been the competition’s official restaurant and the only branded food retailer serving up meals at the Games, including in the Athletes' Village.

Coca-Cola has the exclusive rights to sell non-alcoholic drinks at Olympic venues, while Heineken is the London Games' official beer.

The world's biggest McDonald’s is being built in Stratford, east London, ahead of the Olympics, which start July 27. The sprawling restaurant will open for just six weeks during the competition.

It will seat 1,500 customers and employ more than 2,000 staff, and is expected to serve more than 50,000 Big Mac burgers and 180,000 portions of fries while its doors are open, The Daily Mail said.

According to the AP, a quarter of Britons are obese, and obesity-related health issues cost the UK health system about $6.5 billion every year.

More from GlobalPost: Letter from London: Yawning over the Olympics

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120501/mcdonalds-london-olympics-sponsorship-under-fire