Time for an update on newly-discovered ties between Coca-Cola and the Centers For Disease Control.
- “Michael Pratt, Senior Advisor for Global Health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC, has a history of promoting and helping lead research funded by Coca-Cola. Pratt also works closely with the nonprofit corporate interest group set up by Coca-Cola called the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), emails obtained through Freedom of Information requests show.”
- “These alignments are worrisome because they help provide legitimacy to industry-friendly spin,” said Andy Bellatti, a dietitian and founder of Dietitians for Professional Integrity.”
- “One key message Coca-Cola has been pushing is “Energy Balance.” Consumption of sugar-laden foods and beverages is not to blame for obesity or other health problems; a lack of exercise is the primary culprit, the theory goes. “The soda industry is keen on deflecting the conversation away from the well-documented negative health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages and onto physical activity,” said Bellatti.”
- “Pratt’s work with the industry appears to fit into that messaging effort. Last year he co-authored a Latin America health and nutrition study and related papers funded in part by Coca-Cola and ILSI to investigate the diets of individuals in Latin American countries and to establish a database for studying the “complex relationship existing between energy imbalance, obesity and associated chronic diseases…” Pratt also has been acting as a scientific “advisor” to ILSI North America, serving on an ILSI committee on “energy balance and active lifestyle.” And he is a member of the ILSI Research Foundation Board of Trustees. He also served as an advisor to an international study of childhood obesity funded by Coca-Cola.”
- “Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University and the author of “Soda Politics,” said that when CDC officials work so closely with industry, there is a conflict of interest risk the CDC should consider. “Officials of public health agencies run the risk of cooptation, capture, or conflict of interest when they have close professional ties with companies whose job it is to sell food products, regardless of the effects of those products on health,” said Nestle.”
- “Yoni Freedhoff, MD, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa and founder of the Bariatric Medical Institute, said there is a real danger to when public health officials become too close with corporate players.“Until we recognize the inherent risks of conflicts of interest with the food industry and public health, there is near certainty that these conflicts will influence the nature and strength of recommendations and programs in ways that will be friendly to industries whose products contribute to the burden of illness those same recommendations and programs are meant to address,” Freedhoff said.”