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New Coca-Cola advertising campaign on obesity not helpful in addressing nation’s weight crisis

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is critical of the approach Coca-Cola is taking in its new obesity ad. Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson said in a statement:

The soda industry is under siege, and for good reason. This new advertising campaign is just a damage control exercise, and not a meaningful contribution toward addressing obesity. What the industry is trying to do is forestall sensible policy approaches to reducing sugary drink consumption, including taxes, further exclusion from public facilities, and caps on serving sizes such as the measure proposed by [New York City] Mayor Bloomberg.

The center urges consumers to watch the video The Real Bears. Viewed by more than two million people, the video is a sometimes harrowing portrait of a polar bear family's struggle with obesity, diabetes, and other soda-related health problems.

"Manipulative marketing techniques position soda as a life-affirming source of happiness, when in fact out-of-control soda consumption is fueling an epidemic of disease," Jacobson said in another statement.

In addition to the video, The Real Bears web site has a fact sheet that calls attention to a number of what CSPI says are lies told by soda executives. For example, research has proven a direct relationship between consumption of sugary drinks and an increase in obesity, which promotes diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and many other health problems, he said. However, the soda industry refutes the connection.

Other information from the fact sheet:

  • Each additional sugary drink consumed per day increases the likelihood of a child becoming obese by about 60 percent.
  • Sugary drinks are connected to other health problems as well.
  • Each soda consumed per day increases the risk of heart disease by 19 percent in men.
  • Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases your risk for type 2 diabetes by 25 percent.
  • Diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction.

If you drink a lot of soda, be sure to take a look at The Real Bears video and webpage. It could improve your health and save your life.

Copyright 2013, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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