Reports Document Coca-Cola’s Influence Over China’s Obesity, Nutrition Policies

Gizmodo: Report: Coca-Cola Is Quietly Influencing China’s Obesity Policy — and Shifting Blame From Itself
“Soft drink companies have fought tooth and nail to hold onto their customers, even as public health experts and governments have tried to get people to cut down on the sugary products they make. But a new investigative report in the BMJ highlights just how far Coca-Cola in particular has gone to protect its profits across the globe…” (Cara, 1/9).

The Guardian: Coca-Cola influences China’s obesity policy, BMJ report says
“…Susan Greenhalgh, a Harvard academic and China scholar, says Coca-Cola has exerted its influence since 1999 through a Chinese offshoot of an institute founded in the U.S. by the then Coca-Cola Vice President Alex Malaspina with substantial company funding. The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) has been heavily criticized in the U.S. and Europe for promoting exercise and downplaying the need for people to cut down on excessive sugary drinks…” (Boseley, 1/10).

New York Times: Research Details How Junk Food Companies Influence China’s Nutrition Policy
“…The findings, published Wednesday in The BMJ and the Journal of Public Health Policy, show how Coca-Cola and other multinational food companies, operating through a group called the International Life Sciences Institute, cultivated key Chinese officials in an effort to stave off the growing movement for food regulation and soda taxes that has been sweeping the west. … [I]n China, ILSI is so well-placed that it runs its operations from inside the government’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing. In fact, when asked to comment on the studies, the ministry emailed a statement not from a government official but from ILSI’s China director…” (Jacobs et al., 1/9).

The Telegraph: The real thing: how Coca-Cola shaped China’s obesity policy
“…Coca-Cola has long positioned its product as one which can be enjoyed as part of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ but that message has been diluted by growing concerns over sugar and the imposition of taxes on soft drinks around the world. … But Prof. Greenhalgh says that, via ILSI-China, the company has ‘cleverly maneuvered itself into a position of behind-the-scenes power that ensures that government policy to fight the growing obesity epidemic does not undermine its interests’…” (Gulland, 1/9).

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