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Coca-Cola and CDC: Paper reveals controversial emails

The e-mail exchanges – obtained through requests for freedom information, were sent between 2011 and the time FOIA requests were made in 2016 and 2017.

Now, "these e-mail exchanges seem to be trying to exploit personal CDC conditions to promote these goals at the expense of public health – and to raise questions about whether organizations such as the CDC should refrain from engaging in partnerships where there is potential for conflicts of interest, 19659003] At the same time, Coca-Cola Co A website in 2015 describing the partnerships to remain fully transparent to the public about the conditions.

In 2016, the company implemented new principles related to its public health engagement, including that it will no longer provide all funding for scientific research or be it only provider of funding for health care community programs 1[ads1]9659005] In response to the new paper said Coca-Cola Co. in a statement on Monday that the last four years have "been traveling to be a more useful and effective partner in resolving the problem of obesity. "

" "We have listened carefully to them in the public health community and other stakeholders to better understand the most appropriate role we can play in supporting the fight against obesity in a way that is credible, transparent and beneficial to all and we have developed ours. approach, says the statement. "We recognize that too much sugar is not good for some. In fact, we support today's recommendations from several leading health authorities, including the World Health Organization, that people should limit the intake of added sugar to no more than 10% of their total energy / calorie consumption." 19659005] Conversations between CDC and Coke

For the new paper, researchers sent 10 requests through the Freedom of Information Act to access e-mail exchanges between Coca-Cola and the CDC.

Of these requests, five were rejected as "too broad" or gave no records, and three are pending. One of the rejected requests was repeated and awaited, so it falls within both categories.

The remaining three requests revealed 295 pages of communication from 86 emails.

Based on the e-mail exchanges, at least one visit was made for CDC employees to the Coca-Cola headquarters, the researchers found.

Another e-mail exchange showed that former Coca-Cola director Alex Malaspina wrote to former CDC's official Dr. Barbara Bowman about concerns that WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan restricts restrictions on the consumption of sugary soda, form of soda tax. This exchange, which took place in June 2015, had been reported in the media, Maani Hessari said.

"Some ideas on how to talk to the WHO? Now they will not work with the industry. New drugs, not WHO, but industry. She is influenced by the Chinese government [sic] and is against the United States. says e-mail partially, according to paper documents.

Bowman, former director of the CDC's Heart Disease and Stretch Prevention division, responded that day, suggesting some contacts that may be closely related to WHO regional offices, including Bill Gates. [19659013] Study: 30% of children have two or more sugary drinks a day ” data-src-mini=”//” data-src-xsmall=”//” data-src-small=”” data-src-medium=”//” data-src-large=”//” data-src-full16x9=”//” data-src-mini1x1=”//” data-demand-load=”not-loaded” data-eq-pts=”mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781″ src=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP///////wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI+py+0Po5yUFQA7″/>

"Malaspina-Bowman exchanges had previously been reported in the media, and so we knew there was some contact between the two, says Maani Hessari. "Having said that, I was surprised by the knowledge of the participants in the emails."

In 2016, Bowman left the CDC.

The new paper had some limitations, including that the research is based only on the FOIA requests, and that broader communication between CDC staff and Coca-Cola, such as telephone calls or personal meetings, is not included in the data. Coca-Cola's headquarters and CDC are both in Atlanta.

In addition, the sample size of email messages is small and some FOIA requests are expected.

Coca-Cola noted in his statement: "We are thinking of many of our recipes around the world to reduce sugar, and we are researching and marketing new sugar alternatives that help us keep the good taste people love, but less Sugar and Fewer Calories. "

" Frankly, it's a little scary "

This is not the first time the soda and other industries have been found to have controversial relationships with public bodies or public health groups.

  Controversial sugar industry study on detected cancer

A historical analysis published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in 2016 claimed that the sugar industry sponsored research that doubted on the health of sugar risks and promotes fat "as a dietician" in heart disease – and did not reveal it.
Another paper, published in American Journa l of Preventive Medicine in 2016, found that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo sponsored at least 96 national health organizations while lobbying against public health payments intended to reduce the number of sugary sodas people drink.
The sponsors could have influenced the health group's support for various public health measures to reduce obesity by limiting soda consumption, according to Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of public health at Boston University of Public Health, who was a co-author of that paper.
Another example, Siegel said, was how the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism came under control of communication with the alcohol industry last year.
  How the sugar industry sought research in its favors

With regard to the new paper highlighting Coca-Cola emails, it is honest, it's a little scary to see the extent to which there is collaboration and partnership between the CDC and this company, says Siegel, who was not involved in the paper.

"For me, the most disturbing aspect was the extent to which the CDC officially assisted Als in helping the company achieve its lobbying, and there were examples of giving them advice, providing contact information, and helping them to try to fight the noise tax. he says. "The bigger consequences of this are, in my opinion, it really highlights the need to set up barrier walls – talking about building walls – but we must have some barrier walls built between our authorities and these companies to prevent unnecessary impact on the occurrence. "

The possible influence of Coca-Cola on certain health enterprises seems to go beyond the United States and can be seen in other countries, according to Susan Greenhalgh, a professor of Chinese society at Harvard University, who was not involved in the new paper. [19659003] Greenhalgh wrote two separate papers this month – one in the medical journal BMJ and the other in the Journal of Public Health Policy – describing how Coca-Cola shaped politics and research in China, now Coke is the third largest volume market.

It new paper has some of the same actors as those in Greenhalgh's research in China, where she found that Coca-Cola may have worked through the industry funded nonprofit International Life Sciences Institute to encourage emphasis on the relationship between exercise and obesity over relationships between diet and obesity

In other words, Greenhalgh's work explores the political dynamics that Coca-Cola, working through a nonprofit, "managed to actually divert China's science and politics of obesity and related chronic diseases to adapt to Coke's attitude that in terms of obesity, there is physical activity, not food and drink, it matters, she says and adds there is a position that few experts accept .

"It not only shows attempts to influence, but also the impact," she said.

Where coke is more readily available than water

The new paper's findings were not surprising for Laura Mebert, assistant professor of social sciences at Kettering University in Michigan, because "we have long known in other ways that industries do this. "
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Yet, because access to sugar-sweetened beverages continues to grow globally, the potential impact on public health remains important.

For example, "It is true that Coca-Cola is more readily available than drinking water in some parts of the world," said Mebert, who was not involved in the new paper, but conducted separate research in San Cristóbal de las Casas. city ​​in Chiapas, Mexico, between 2007 and 2008.

"In some neighborhoods, households only had running water for a few hours a week, and in any case it had to be boiled before it was drinkable," said Mebert.

Cola and other bottled drinks were available for purchase in all grocery stores, while at the same time the Mexican government charged the Coca-Cola bottle plant in San Cristóbal far less for clean water than the local government pays average household, "she said. "This is not just a Mexican problem. The same goes for my home town of Flint, Michigan, where households are charged some of the highest monthly water levels in the country."

In 2015, residents paid Flint the highest water bills of 500 communities surveyed nationwide, according to a study of nonprofit Food & Water Watch.

Mebert said: "In both Mexico and the United States, inequality between companies and households access to water is a problem created by industry but allowed by government."

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