STUDY: Big Soda Gives A Lot of Money to 96 National Health Organizations

National health organizations are important watchdogs in the fight against obesity. Groups like American Heart Association draw attention to health crises and bring together experts. But a study published today in American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo sponsored 96 national health organizations between 2011 and 2015. Their sponsorship was even funded scientific and medical groups dedicated to fighting obesity.

The report’s authors warned that lobbying Big Soda is a major obstacle to the fight against obesity.

Diabetic groups among the recipients of sugar money

Daniel Aaron, a medical student at Boston University, decided to investigate the nature, extent, and implications of sponsorship of US health and medical companies after have attended health events. problems across the country.

Concerned, he turned to online resources and databases to find links between the Coca-Cola Company or PepsiCo and the “health organizations,” which he defines as entities involved in public health. Aaron found an ever-present link between Big Soda and lobbying: 96 national health organizations took the soda money. During the study, the soda companies lobbied 29 health bills that would have reduced soda consumption and decreased obesity.

Some health organizations that received Coke and / or Pepsi money:

  • American Association of Diabetics
  • Harvard Medical School
  • National Dental Association
  • American Association of the Heart
  • Society of Obesity

Growing concern over money from sugar lobbying

The revelation raises fears that the sugar and soda industries are shaping how Americans think about nutrition. Last month, a study in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that in the 1960s, the sugar industry paid Harvard doctors to minimize the health consequences of sugar . And Coca-Cola continues practice in 2016 by paying dieticians to tweet anti-soda tax stories.

The Boston University study is the largest and most recent revelation of the omnipresence of Big Soda’s influence in reputable public health organizations. The study indicates that communications “can shape the way Americans think about food and exercise” and that “ it is likely that philanthropy will increase soda consumption in the country . organizations undermine their own mission and undermine the fight against obesity.

In addition, “organizations may feel obliged to grant sponsors conference spots, that allow soft drink companies to present and speak at important health conferences and to develop positive associations. ”

Following the role of Marlboro

Finally, the study compared the sponsorship of Big Soda to that of Big Tobacco in the 20th century. Tobacco and alcohol companies sponsored health organizations through the medium of corporate philanthropy as a marketing tool in the 20th century. When the harms of smoking threatened the market share of cigarettes, tobacco companies made generous donations to public health organizations to mitigate the spread of negative information. But public outrage has stopped this practice, and now few organizations are taking Big Tobacco money.

However, in 2008 obesity surpassed smoking as the single largest preventable cause of death in America. The average American consumes 46 gallons of soda per year, making it a significant factor in weight gain. By accepting the money from soda companies, public health organizations contribute to the misinformation that perpetuates the number one health crisis.

The study recommends (and Health Fitness Revolution agrees) that health organizations stop taking Coca-Cola money and find other sources of income in the country.

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