coke
The Coca-Cola Company proposed and financed the now-defunct group Global Energy Balance Network as a "weapon" in the "growing war between the public health community and private industry" over obesity and the obesity epidemic, according to a new study published today in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The study is based on documents obtained via state Freedom of Information request by U.S. Right to Know, a consumer and public health group.

The study states that "The documents reveal that Coca-Cola funded and supported the GEBN because it would serve as a 'weapon' to 'change the conversation' about obesity amidst a 'growing war between the public health community and private industry'."

"This study reveals The Coca-Cola Company's true intentions to go to war with the public health community over obesity and who is responsible for it," said Gary Ruskin, co-director of US Right to Know, a co-author of the study.

Other co-authors of the study are: Pepita Barlow, University of Oxford; Paulo SerĂ´dio, University of Oxford; Professor Martin McKee, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Professor David Stuckler, Bocconi University.

The title of the article in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health is: "Science organisations and Coca-Cola's 'war' with the public health community: insights from an internal industry document".
Abstract

Critics have long accused food and beverage companies of trying to exonerate their products from blame for obesity by funding organisations that highlight alternative causes. Yet, conclusions about the intentions of food and beverage companies in funding scientific organisations have been prevented by limited access to industry's internal documents. Here we allow the words of Coca-Cola employees to speak about how the corporation intended to advance its interests by funding the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN). The documents reveal that Coca-Cola funded and supported the GEBN because it would serve as a 'weapon' to 'change the conversation' about obesity amidst a 'growing war between the public health community and private industry'. Despite its close links to the Coca-Cola company, the GEBN was to be portrayed as an 'honest broker' in this 'war'. The GEBN's message was to be promoted via an extensive advocacy campaign linking researchers, policy-makers, health professionals, journalists and the general public. Ultimately, these activities were intended to advance Coca-Cola's corporate interests: as they note, their purpose was to 'promote practices that are effective in terms of both policy and profit'. Coca-Cola's proposal for establishing the GEBN corroborates concerns about food and beverage corporations' involvement in scientific organisations and their similarities with Big Tobacco.
U.S. Right to Know is a nonprofit consumer and public health organization that investigates the risks associated with the corporate food system, and the food industry's practices and influence on public policy. For more information, see usrtk.org.