Monday, October 05, 2015

PEDIATRICS - Ending of Coke Relationship

"American Academy of Pediatrics decides relationship with Coke is not so sweet" PBS NewsHour 9/30/2015


SUMMARY:  Coca-Cola, the world's largest producer of sugary beverages, had been a partner and sponsor of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  But the Academy is now ending its relationship after revelations that the company has paid for scientific research playing down the role of soda in obesity.  Hari Sreenivasan learns more from Anahad O'Connor of The New York Times.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Coke is the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, so you might not think the American Academy of Pediatrics would partner with the company.  But that had indeed been the case until this week.  It was a main sponsor of the academy’s Web site,, and a past sponsor of the group’s national conference.

It’s provided over $100 million in financial support to other professional medical and health groups as well.  The Academy is now ending its relationship with Coke.  And it comes after a recent story in The New York Times laid out how the company has paid for scientific research that plays down the role of soda in obesity.

Anahad O’Connor has been working on these stories, joins me now.

So, I guess the first story — or the most recent story first, what’s the connection between Coke and the Academy of Pediatrics?

ANAHAD O’CONNOR, The New York Times:  So, the first story I did was looking at Coke’s — the money that they were paying a lot of researchers and institutions to do research that, you know, was downplaying the role of sugary drinks in obesity.

And in response to that story, the CEO of Coca-Cola said, we’re not trying to deceive the public.  We’re trying to work with institutions to promote active healthy living, and we are going to release all of the funding that we provided to scientists, universities, to health groups over the past five years.

And so they released a trove of data showing this extensive number of grants.  And in that data, we saw that the American Academy of Pediatrics was in there, and Coke had provided something like $3 million to the Academy, at least over the past five years.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  And how do the pediatricians feel?

ANAHAD O’CONNOR:  So, the actual members of the Academy — and there’s more than 64,000 pediatricians who are part of this Academy — it’s very prestigious — a lot of them are very upset.  When I spoke to them, they said they couldn’t believe that the Academy had partnered with Coke or worked with it to any extent, because sugary drinks are considered a very major factor in the obesity epidemic, especially among children.

These pediatricians see the effects of it firsthand.  They see type 2 diabetes, hypertension.  You know, all these diseases that used to occur in middle age and later in life, they see them in children now.  And they think that sugary drinks are a primary influence of that.  So, pediatricians were very upset.

No comments: