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Report: Coca-Cola Accused of Contributing to Childhood Obesity

Coca-Cola is facing backlash for promoting its sugary beverages to teens and moms as healthy drinks, even though the medical community believes they contribute to childhood obesity.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) analyzed two Coca-Cola ad campaigns, one from the 2016 Rio Olympics and another from a 2013 ad campaign. The IJERPH found the ads targeted teens and moms, urging them to change their attitudes in favor of Coca-Cola. The even found evidence in the internal documents that stated their goal was to “increase Coke brand health scores with teens.” The IJERPH said Coke was “explicit in its intent,” in reaching more than 20 million teenagers.

“The large number of children targeted and reached by Coke as part of their PR campaigns is a serious concern from a public-health perspective.”

In a statement to CNN Business, Coca-Cola pointed to their efforts to reduce the sugar in their products and promote health. “At Coca-Cola, we recognize that too much sugar isn’t good for anyone. That’s why, around the world, we are reducing the amount of sugar in our products and taking other steps to help people reduce their sugar intake. We have long had a global policy of not marketing to children under 12, and all of our marketing campaigns are designed to comply with that policy.”

We will keep you updated on this story as it develops.

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About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!

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