Coca-Cola accused of "obscene" hypocrisy in £20m 'anti-obesity' drive
The drinks giant has come under fire from health campaigners for its decision to bring free fitness classes to 70 parks in Britain
Coca-Cola has been accused of using a £20 million anti-obesity drive to distract attention from its contribution to Britain’s obesity epidemic.
The drinks giant plans to pour millions into fitness programme called Coca-Cola Zero ParkLives, offering thousands of free sessions and coaching for families across 70 parks in England.
But the announcement immediately attracted criticism from nutrition campaigners who have labelled the scheme “obscene”.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, cardiologist and science director for the Action on Sugar campaign group, told The Daily Telegraph: “I think this is a really disingenuous stunt. They are trying to deflect attention from their own part in creating an obesity epidemic, which has been fuelled almost entirely by rising calorie consumption.”
Dr Malhotra added the programme was “obscene” because it encouraged such companies to associate themselves with active lifestyles.
Critics have cited warnings from Public Health England that soft drinks and fruit juices packed with sugar are creating an obesity epidemic, especially among young people.
A report commissioned by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey earlier this month found that those aged between four and 18 months are consuming around 40 per cent more sugar than is recommended.
The findings also suggested that soft drinks like Coca-Cola contributed to 30 per cent of sugar intake of those aged between 11 and 18.
But the company has insisted that is playing a part in tackling obesity in Britain, arguing that 40 per cent of sales now come from ‘zero calorie’ versions of the drink.
Coca-Cola’s general manager Jon Woods stressed the company was refusing to shy away from obesity and refused to accept blame for the epidemic.
He said: “We have set out in the last two years that we want to play a more productive role in finding solutions to obesity; historically we would have shied away from this but we are taking a more proactive approach; this is about calories in and calories out and getting the energy balance right.”
Mr Woods added that the project’s aim was to encourage young people who wouldn’t normally take part in sport to be more active.
The new Coca-Cola programme is to be overseen by health quango UK Active, and has received the backing of former Olympic athlete, Sebastian Coe.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
General Election 2015: Polish prince challenges Nigel Farage to a duel over immigration question
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...