Coca Cola Gets a Health Conscious… or Is It Just A Front?

Interesting how Coca Cola can put on such a health concerned face when their multimillion dollar annual earnings depend on consumers buying their sugary, sweet products that contribute to a nation of obesity. Is this a genuine message or a clever gimmick to address the inevitable discussion on addressing our nation’s tragic health status.

More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. Despite these truths the Coca Cola Beverage Institute of Health & Wellness suggests that the relationship between weight and health may be more complicated than health care professionals realize. In fact, Coca Cola sites a recent meta-analysis that they say indicates that relative to normal weight, overweight may actually be associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality.  SAY WHAT??!!?? In fact on July 17, 2013, Coca Cola presented two thought (not practice) leaders in the field of cardiovascular health and fitness to describe the “Obesity Paradox,” that discussed the benefits of exercise independent of weight loss, and explored how (and why) being lean but unfit is dangerous to your cardiovascular health.

Presenters included the following:

Carl (Chip) Lavie, Jr, MD
John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute
The University of Queensland School of Medicine
New Orleans (**the obesity capital of the world**)

Barbara J. Fletcher, RN, MN
Clinical Associate Professor, School of Nursing
University of North Florida, Jacksonville (**an academic whose strayed from practice**)

I love my fellow health professionals but clearly some have fell off their rockers. Just like your own family has that one or two relatives you don’t want to claim… so does the health profession. Kudos to Coca Cola’s for making efforts to promote a healthIER product line with informative labeling, and consideration for sugar content and portion sizes. The public realizes the company’s wellbeing is dependent on consumption which unfortunately negatively impacts the health of our nation. Moderation or limited of consumption of empty calories is the best answer to avoid obesity along with healthy eating and exercise. My only issues here are painting a picture as if an obesity paradox really exists (when it doesn’t) and the extreme emphasis on the lack of frequency, intensity, type and duration of exercise as completely to blame for our nation’s obesity status.

What about the political, social, economic, cultural and educational injustices that influence the awareness and access to healthy foods and places to safely exercise?

Although presenters urged listeners to engage in more rigorous physical activity, they made no mention of doing so themselves. Does the average American really have access to kayak and play tennis? Or were our well paid Anglo-Saxon speakers twisting and turning research findings for Coca Cola’s benefit and negligent of  the true issues that contribute to our nation’s obesity rate. Really??!!?? Don’t get me started!

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