You may be shocked to realise that the two beverage giants, Coca-Cola and Pepsi have contributed millions of dollars to a variety of organisations which are health-related, whilst fighting anti-obesity measures such as taxes on soft drinks.
A new study out of the US has revealed that over a 4 year period between 2011 to 2015, a total of 96 health organisations waging the war against obesity, heart disease and diabetes, were funded at some level by these 2 soft drink giants.
Whilst they were funding these organisations, they were also lobbying heavily against 29 public health bills which were aimed at reducing soft drink consumption or attempting to improve the nutrition of the American public.
Coca-Cola alone spent more than $120 million over the past 5 years to help fund scientific studies or partnering with groups fighting the obesity epidemic.
I certainly have strong sympathy for the majority of health organisations who are strapped for cash, but where do you draw the line? Organisations fighting obesity, heart disease and diabetes but then receiving funding from Coca-Cola or Pepsi is analogous to the National Heart Foundation accepting funding from British American Tobacco or giving a tick of approval to fast food outlets.
As I have stated often, I believe energy drinks should be banned and soft drinks heavily regulated. In a society where cigarettes are heavily regulated and advertising is banned, why aren’t we being consistent and doing the same for products which are clearly linked to various serious health challenges?
These products are, obviously, freely available without any restrictions to children and teenagers, despite the fact that there is a clear link to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, dental issues, behavioural abnormalities in younger uses and most recently (especially with the cola based drinks), a potential cancer risk.
Recently, in New South Wales, our premier was going to ban greyhound racing and fortunately common sense prevailed. Why would a politician isolate one industry because of a few “bad apples” dredging up the animal cruelty card? If there is any consistency with this Nanny state approach, why don’t we look at the real issues in society? Childhood obesity, the epidemic of diabetes, the ongoing carnage from cardiovascular disease and cancer. I am in no way suggesting that this is all due to soft drink consumption but either we have to have open slather on anything people in society want to indulge in or we at least regulate the real issues.
All I am asking for is consistency and for health organisations to take a stand and refuse to accept funding from any companies that are peddling products with the strong potential for harm.