"An investigation reveals the beverage giant gives big bucks to influence research and policy through events and conferences."
"Coca-Cola is directly influencing public health conferences and events via sponsorships — sometimes undisclosed — that could give the multinational company say in speaker selections and conference agendas, according to a new study.
The study, published in the Public Health Nutrition Journal, uncovered previously unknown collaborations between Coco-Cola and major health institutions including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Institute for Excellence in Pediatrics, the Obesity Society and the American Academy of Family Physicians. It builds upon a 2020 study that showed the company helped shape the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health, an international effort to promote physical activity.
The findings, based on documents uncovered by 22 Freedom of Information requests by the U.S. Right to Know organization, suggest that Coca-Cola’s influence could suppress research and viewpoints unfavorable to the company and its suite of unhealthy products, advance messaging that physical inactivity is the key cause of obesity and bolster its image as science-friendly.
“The effect of this industry involvement is to expose professionals to the brands and marketing of certain products, including ultra-processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, while also allowing the brands to build their image by affiliating with scientific and research communities,” the authors wrote."