Soda Companies Funded Nearly 100 Health Organizations Despite Conflict of Interest, According to Investigation

Amy Capetta

Talk about a conflict of interest: A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reveals that at least 96 health organizations received funding from either one or both of the country’s largest soda companies between 2011 and 2015.

According to the findings from investigators at Boston University (BU), The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo sponsored these health organizations during the same five-year period when the soda companies were lobbying against at least 28 public health bills intended to reduce soda consumption or improve nutrition.

“Corporate sponsorships are a well-recognized strategy for marketing products by helping to create a positive public image and deterring criticism from organizations that would otherwise be promoting policies to reduce the use of these products,” continues Siegel. “Because sponsorship is actually a marketing strategy used by companies to improve their public image and affect their bottom line — increase sales of their products — public health organizations that accept funding from these companies are unwittingly participating as pawns in the marketing efforts of these companies.”

Siegel adds: “In other words, they are essentially acting to promote soda consumption. This is a direct conflict of the mission of these organizations to try to reduce obesity, in part through a reduction in soda consumption.”

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