Contra Costa Docs Pop Off Over Coca-Cola

MDs quit over partnership with Coke

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, Oct 29, 2009  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Contra Costa Docs Pop Off Over Coca-Cola

Kim Strømstad

A youngster gets hooked early on sweet, delicious Coca-Cola.

Doctors tore up their cards in resigning from the American Academy of Family Physicians at a press conference in Martinez Wednesday.

The protest was spurred by the AAFP's recent partnership with Coca-Cola, which will provide $100,000 or more in grant money for the organization to develop educational materials for its Web site promoting "balanced" diets for kids.

Coca-Cola and other soft drink manufacturers have come under fire for marketing calorie-packed sodas laced with high-fructose corn syrup to increasingly obese American children.

Twenty-five-year AAFP member Dr. William Walker, director of health services for Contra Costa County, complained, "How can any organization that claims to promote public health join forces with a company that promotes products that put our children at risk for obesity, heart disease and early death?"

Responding to the resignations, academy CEO Douglas Hanley promised the Contra Costa Times "We're going to be candid about what the peer-reviewed literature says about" childhood obesity and the link to sugary soft drinks.

Walker, however, suggested that the move was the equivalent to the tobacco industry's efforts to get doctors to endorse cigarette smoking in the 40s and 50s.

Photo by Kim Strømstad.

Jackson West used to be a full-on Coke addict, but now only indulges in the HFCS-free Mexican ocassionally -- and is a lot skinnier for it.

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