Although our advocacy efforts focus on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, we are well aware that the issue of corporate sponsorship of health organizations is rampant.
Consider, for instance, what is happening with the 5th International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health (ICPAPH), to be held in Rio de Janeiro April 8 to 11 of this year.
David Crawford — Alfred Deakin Professor, Head of School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences and Director, Centre for Physical Activity & Nutrition Research at Deakin University Australia — shares details in a recent blog post.
- “When I looked at the congress web site I was initially excited – that was until I scrolled to the bottom of the page and discovered that Coca-Cola is listed as the sponsor.”
- “I can think of two main reasons why Coke sponsorship of this congress is a bad idea. In their 2007 review published in PLoS Medicine, Lesser et al reported that industry sponsored research was 6 times more likely to yield a favourable or neutral result than an unfavourable result. That review, and others, concluded industry sponsorship is likely to bias scientific conclusions relating to soft drink consumption.”
- “It is a complete mystery to me how the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) can reconcile their mission of advancing health while accepting Coke sponsorship. At the very least, having Coke as a sponsor must send a very confusing message, and at worst may be viewed as an endorsement by an organisation apparently dedicated to advancing health.”
Indeed, these sponsorships provide free positive publicity to the food industry while simultaneously staining the reputation of what should be credible and objective health organizations. Let’s also keep in mind that while ISPAH advocates for health, Coca-Cola literally spends millions of dollars a year specifically battling proposed public health policies.