The Chairman of Coca-Cola has denied that his company should take any responsibility for the obesity epidemic, despite growing concerns that sugary drinks are fuelling expanding waistlines.
As debate over the obesity epidemic continues, focus was recently placed on the role of sugary drinks in the nations expanding girth, when the Mayor of New York City proposed a ban on beverages larger than 16 ounces.
The latest move is a recommendation by the American Medical Association to tax "all calorie-laden, sugar-filled beverages with the revenue generated going to obesity prevention education."
Muhtar Kent, Chief Executive and Chairman of Coca-Cola was asked by the Wall Street Journal how much the concern and debate over the rise in obesity represents for the company. Kent replied "This is an important complicated societal issue that we all have to work together to provide a solution. That's why we are working with government, business and civil society to have active lifestyle programs in every country we operate by 2015."
He went on to say"It is, I believe, incorrect and unjust to put the blame on any single ingredient, any single product, any single category of food" for the rise in obesity. He said Coca-Cola has introduced 800 calorie-free or low-calorie products over the last four or five years.
Kent's views were echoed by Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola's president of sparkling beverages in North America, who Freep reported said "There is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity." She insisted "singling out single brands or foods is not going to help the situation."
Despite the claims by Coca-Cola that their products are not contributing factors to the rise in obesity, numerous studies have shown that both sugary drinks and diet drinks are responsible for weight gain.