It is a well-known fact that sodas are part of the problem when it comes to the obesity epidemic sweeping the developed world.
However, it has been reported that over a hundred medical organizations, government groups and health foundations have received big sums of cash from the Pepsi and Coca Cola companies.
A new study at Boston University, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, has found that between 2011-2015, over 96 health organizations have taken money from either Pepsi or Coca Cola, or in some cases, both.
Some organizations revealed to have accepted this money include the American Diabetes Association and the American Red Cross.
The recent study concluded:
“These companies lobbied against public health intervention in 97 percent of cases, calling into question a sincere commitment to improving the public’s health. By accepting funding from these companies, health organizations are inadvertently participating in their marketing plans.”
Some are likening this willingness to accept money from soda companies as similar to the lobbying that took place with cigarette companies not so long ago.
Dr. Michael Siegel, the study’s co-author, says that he decided to investigate this phenomenon after noting that Coca Cola was supporting the Global Energy Balance Network. He says he felt bothered by this, as the message of the network was to tackle obesity through exercise alone, taking the shift away from diet.
Wondering if this was a common theme, he investigated the companies for his study and found that it was actually pretty prevalent.
In response to questions about the study, the Coca Cola Company has created a website to allow users to search the foundations and health organizations they have sponsored in the past. This is likely their way of attempting to deflect questions from the public and media about whom they support and why.
PepsiCo hasn’t done the same thing, but instead recently attempted to defend their position by stating that they only make one quarter of their annual sales on soda products. The rest, they claim, come from cereals, oats and other foods that can be deemed healthy.
No matter the case, this certainly raises eyebrows on the intentions of both the soda companies and health organizations alike.