October 21, 2016

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo Funded Health Organizations

The two biggest soda companies in the United States - Coca-Cola and PepsiCo - sponsored a minimum of 96 national health organizations between 2011-2015, a new study reveals.

Lead author Daniel Aaron and co-author Dr. Michael Siegel, of the Boston University School of Medicine, publish their findings in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The researchers say their results suggest big drink companies are hampering efforts to improve health and nutrition in the U.S., and they call for health organizations to refuse funding from these companies.

Sugary drink consumption has become a major public health concern in recent years, with links to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

It seems there are some industries that have long tried to dampen reports of the health risks of these beverages; a study published last month, for example, revealed how the sugar industry accepted money as early as 1965 to mute the link between sugar intake and heart disease.

The new study from Aaron and Dr. Siegel adds fuel to the fire, providing insight into the funding national health organizations have received from soda giants over the past 5 years.

Aaron and Dr. Siegel reached their findings by investigating data on which health organizations received funding from Coca-Cola between 2011-2015, as well as what health bills the two soda giants lobbied against.

Among the organizations accepting such sponsorships: the CDC, the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Over the 5-year period, the team identified a total of 96 national health organizations that accepted money from the companies. Of these, 83 accepted money from Coca-Cola, one accepted money from PepsiCo, and 12 accepted money from both companies.

Unlike Coca-Cola, PepsiCo does not publish a list of organizations it provides finance to, so the researchers say it is likely that even more health organizations received funding.

The team was surprised to find that the American Diabetes Association and the Diabetes Research Foundation were two of the organizations that accepted funding from the soda companies, given the well-established link between sugary drink intake and diabetes.

The results showed that the two soda companies sponsored a total of 96 national health organizations: 63 public health organizations, 19 medical organizations, seven health foundations, five government organizations, and two food supply groups.

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