Critics Pile on Coke's Anti-Obesity Ads

Campaign 'out of Damage Control 101,' critics say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2013 2:23 AM CST

(Newser) – Coca-Cola: Enemy of obesity? The soda giant calls for people to join together to fight obesity and hails its own efforts in a new ad campaign that began airing on major networks last night, the Los Angeles Times reports. "All calories count. No matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories," says the ad, which stresses that the company offers more than 180 low or no-calorie drinks. "And if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you'll gain weight." Another ad to air later this week focuses on how to burn off the 140 "happy calories" in a can of Coke.

Health advocates are not impressed. The ad "is a page out of Damage Control 101, which is try to pretend you're part of the solution rather than part of the problem," the director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest consumer group tells USA Today. The company "still remains one of the major causes of obesity in the USA and globally," says nutrition professor Barry Popkin, one of the nation's top experts on beverage consumption. "Yes, other foods matter, but the biggest single source contributor to child and adult obesity in the USA is sugar-sweetened beverages." (Read more Coca-Cola stories.)

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