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Coca Cola in controversy over £20 Million ‘anti-obesity’ drive
Coca Cola in controversy over £20 Million 'anti-obesity' drive

Coca Cola in controversy over £20 Million ‘anti-obesity’ drive

Coca-Cola has been accused of using a £20 million anti-obesity drive to distract attention from its contribution to Britain’s obesity epidemic.

The drinks giant plans to pour millions into fitness programme called Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives, offering thousands of free sessions and coaching for families across 70 parks in England.

“I think this is a really disingenuous stunt. They are trying to deflect attention from their own part in creating an obesity epidemic, which has been fuelled almost entirely by rising calorie consumption,” Dr. Aseem Malhotra, cardiologist and s cience director for the Action on Sugar campaign group, told The Telegraph.

Dr. Malhotra also said that the “obscene” attempts by such companies to associate themselves with active lifestyle could mislead the public to consume more unhealthy products with the thought that small amounts of physical activity is enough to rule out the health risks they impose.

Citing warnings from Public Health England, critics said that soft drinks and fruit juices with sugar, have been the cause of widespread obesity among the population, most particularly the young ones.

Earlier this month, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey revealed in a report that kids and teenagers aged between four and 18 are consuming an estimated 40 percent more sugar than what is recommended.

Furthermore, studies suggested that soft drinks like Coca-Cola, which contains nine teaspoons of sugar per can, are the major culprits – contributing as much as 30% – to the excessive sugar consumption among those aged between 11 and 18.

In return the company defended itself claiming that it is doing its best to tackle obesity in UK contending that 40 percent of its sales recently come from its “zero-calorie” drink versions.

“We have set out in the last two years that we want to play a more productive role in finding solutions to obesity; historically we would have shied away from this but we are taking a more proactive approach; this is about calories in and calories out and getting the energy balance right,” Jon Woods, Coca-Cola’s general manager, said of the company’s stand in obesity.

He added that the project intends to urge individuals to engage more in sports with children, teenagers and even parents enjoying fun and healthy physical activities. However, Coca-Cola emphasized that under its marketing code, the program will not be marketed to those aged under 12 but those who wishes to can still participate provided they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Woods also said that the company should not be solely blamed for the current rising obesity level in Britain.

“We don’t think all the concerns about obesity can be laid at our door; we want healthy happy consumers; this is something that should be welcomed, not frowned upon,” he stated.


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