Coca-Cola Co. joins the fight against obesity

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In an effort to join in the fight against the obesity epidemic, Coca-Cola Co. has made plans to expand distribution of its low-calorie drinks. Coke also has plans to make sure that calorie counts are posted on the front of all coke products around the world. In addition, the company intends to sponsor physical activity programs and continue not to market its products to children under 12 years of age.

However, as the world s biggest drink company, Coca-Cola continues to be met with opposition and accusations about its role in the obesity epidemic. France recently introduced a soda tax, and Hungary followed suit, issuing a tax on all products high in sugar, salt and fat. And the U.K. may be next.

Although in North America, about one-third of Coca-Cola s sales come from low-and-zero-calorie drinks, this number is much lower in other parts of the world. Coke s chairman and chief executive Muhtar Kent says that the key here is to ensure that in every market where we operate to have no- or low-calorie beverages of our main brands available.

And Coke has invested in television advertisements to argue that soda should not be solely blamed for the obesity epidemic, while also promoting physical activity. This commitment can be seen in the $3.8 million in grants the company is prepared to use to support active lifestyle programs.

ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says, It looks like Coca-Cola Co. is actively trying to participate in the fight against obesity, and they should be commended. By highlighting their low- and no-calorie drink options, they are giving consumers other options besides the full-calorie versions of their drinks. This has the potential to make a huge difference in the choices that people make regarding soft-drink consumption. So I say Kudos to Coke

And ACSHs Ariel Savransky adds, We saw recently that soda is actually not the biggest contributor to added sugar calories consumed. The majority of added sugar consumed actually comes from food. However, I do agree that the efforts made by Coca-Cola Co can potentially have a positive impact on consumer behavior and the obesity epidemic.