Coca-Cola adds its voice to the anti-obesity discussion

Coca-Cola has launched an anti-obesity campaign as it seeks to become a stronger voice on the issue.

Coca-Cola has launched an anti-obesity campaign as it seeks to become a stronger voice on the issue.

It plans to begin airing a two-minute spot on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC in the hope of getting a say in the intensifying debate over sodas and their impact on public health. The ad details Coca-Cola's history of producing drinks with fewer calories and adds that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind -- not just soda.

Coca-Cola points out in the video that it offers 180 low- and no-calorie beverages out of more than 650 beverage products.

A second spot will debut on American Idol on Wednesday. It is upfront in stating that a can of Coca-Cola has 140 calories. This spot also encourages people to have some fun burning those calories.

Health advocates such as Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the commercials are Coca-Cola's attempt to perform a “damage control exercise, and not a meaningful contribution toward addressing obesity.”

He added that “[what the] industry is trying to do is forestall sensible policy approaches to reducing sugary drink consumption, including taxes, further exclusion from public facilities, and caps on serving sizes, such as the measure proposed by [New York] Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg.”

In September, the New York City Board of Health passed a ban on the sale of sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces at fast-food restaurants, street vendors, and movie theaters.

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