In a Push For Transparency, Coca-Cola Reveals They Spent Almost $120 Million on Health Research and Programs Since 2010
In a new effort to create transparency in its studies and allocations of money, Coca-Cola recently announced that they spent more than $119 million on research and health programs since 2010.
Since the 1990s, the rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed. While in 1990 there were no states with an obesity rate over 20%, it seems that the statistics have flipped, and not a single state has an obesity rate below 20%.
Colorado, the state with the lowest obesity rate, has 21%; Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi rank the highest with 35%. Michigan ranks number 17 in the country, with 31.5% of the population meeting the criteria for obesity.
Amidst the search for understanding behind this rapid and alarming epidemic, many health experts have pointed to calories and sugar-laden processed foods and beverages (such as soda) to blame for the skyrocketing statistics.
In rebuttal, Global Energy Balance Network, a non-profit health group funded by the soda company, has released statements claiming that not only is it “unfair” to target a single food for the ride in obesity, but the epidemic has more to do with a lack of exercise than anything.
While it’s true that three out of four children between the ages of five and 10 don’t get enough exercise — and these numbers only climb as rate of physical activity decreases with age — experts are saying that there is more to America’s obesity epidemic than just a lack of exercise.
The soda giant has given grants to a number of institutions and organizations, such as the University of Michigan, the Boys and Girls Club of America, and the American Cancer Society.
Although research on obesity is indeed necessary, the intersection of capitalism and nutrition science has proven to be problematic as of late. Coke’s push for transparency is a means of establishing their company — and their research — as well-meaning and unbiased.
In order to keep up this transparency in research funding, Coca-Cola will be posting updates on their grants on their website every six months.