Both gave (much) money to companies fighting obesity
What have in common some of the most prestigious global organizations in healthcare, such as the Harvard University Medical School, the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association? Coca-Cola and Pepsi, two giants of sugary drinks industry.
The answer may even be surprising, but together these two huge companies sponsored about 96 health organizations in the United States from 2011 to 2015.
The information was not entirely unknown to the American public, but a study now published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine gives a concrete number of these connections.
In the list published in this publication you can find several companies that are dedicated to fighting obesity.
The research was carried out by Daniel Aaron Boston School of Medicine and Michael Siegel of the Boston School of Public Health, which gathered all the information previously made public, in order to understand in depth the extent of the influence of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in health research and the country’s policies.
The report contains not only the list of companies benefiting from these links but also some details that show the extent of the influence of these companies and their efforts to protect the industry.
But in practice what the real importance of knowing this information? The answer is simple: understand how corporate sponsorships work.
“Of course, it was expected that health companies promoted soda consumption reduction policies” the authors write.
But it is not always what happens with various health organizations to dismiss this responsibility, avoiding taking the issue to public debate, against more or less covertly legislation, or through direct collaboration with these companies in the creation of educational materials sets, “the authors explain.
Of the 96 organizations that received money from Coca-Cola and Pepsi between 2011 and 2015, 63 are public health organizations, 19 are private associations and the rest are foundations, governmental organizations and food distribution groups.
The American Diabetes Association and the Foundation for Research of Juvenile Diabetes appear in this list, which for researchers “is surprising,” given “the known link between diabetes and the consumption of soft drinks.”
The data are far from a complete surprise, but it is still impressive to realize the dimension of the issue. “In 97% of cases, these companies lobbied against public health intervention measures, jeopardizing the important commitment to improving the health of the public,” the report concludes.