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Coca-Cola sought to shift blame for obesity by funding public health conferences, study reports

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4718 (Published 03 December 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4718
  1. Shaun Griffin
  1. London, UK

The Coca-Cola Company worked with its sponsored researchers on topics to present at major international public health conferences in order to shift blame for rising obesity and diet related diseases away from its products onto physical activity and individual choice, according to a new report.1

Academics in Australia and the US worked with US Right to Know, which lobbies for transparency in the food industry, to obtain and analyse emails between Coke and public health figures about events run by the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH).

They analysed 36 931 pages of documents to identify exchanges referencing Coke’s sponsorship of the International Congresses on Physical Activity and Public Health (ICPAPH) held in Sydney in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2014.

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