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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Filler thriller: Ali as food guru
Muhammad Ali in January 2006
Muhammad Ali: The Greatest of All Time
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali, famed for fast jabs and even faster one-liners, is squaring up to defeat a new opponent - childhood obesity in the US.

The man who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee has teamed up with a confectionery giant to market a range of low-calorie food and drinks.

US obesity rates for people aged six to 19 have more than tripled since 1980.

Health campaigners welcomed the move but say any programme to tackle obesity must address fundamental eating habits.

"Eat like champions, walk like kings," proclaims a website promoting Muhammad Ali's new range of reduced-calories food and drinks.

Rumble

His company, known perhaps somewhat unappetisingly as Goat Foods, an acronym of "Greatest Of All Time", plans to have the snacks in shops from early next year.

Child with burger
Will Ali deliver a knockout blow for burgers?

The range will include Shuffle, Jabs and Rumble, fruit-filled rolls shaped like boxing gloves or punchbags.

The foods, which are being developed by Mars, will be fortified with fibre and vitamins and have no more than 150 calories each.

"It is time to pass on the values, beliefs and principles that made me a champ to the next generation of champions," Ali said in a statement.

It is not clear how involved the 64-year-old Ali, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, will be in the project.

His fourth wife, Lonnie, told the New York Times that Ali was concerned about obesity in youngsters.

"What Muhammad is working on is his legacy. How are people going to remember him? Muhammad says we should all be in a race to do good," she said.

Image rights

The American Obesity Association said that in theory Goat food sounded good.

"But unless it ends up actually reducing the calories that the user consumes, it is not likely to have a benefit in terms of weight loss," executive director Morgan Downey told the New York Times.

According to the association, approximately 30.3% of children aged 6 to 11 are overweight and 15.3% percent are obese.

For adolescents, aged 12 to 19 years , 30.4 % are overweight and 15.5% are obese.

Ali's move into diet food comes two months after he sold the rights to his name and image for $50m (27.5m).

Fellow former heavyweight George Foreman - who was defeated by Ali during the 1974 Rumble In The Jungle bout in what was then Zaire - has also sold the rights to his name.

Most notably he was paid $146.5m (80m) in 1999 by kitchen appliance maker Salton to put his name to a fat-reducing grill.


SEE ALSO
Muhammad Ali sells rights to name
11 Apr 06 |  Business
In pictures: Ali 'The Greatest'
20 Nov 05 |  In Pictures
Home town mulls boxer Ali's legacy
19 Nov 05 |  Americas
Obesity rates rise among children
12 Dec 05 |  Scotland

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