Total Sellout: American Academy of Family Physicians Lets Coca-Cola Sponsor Health Advice
'The American Academy of Family Physicians has come under fire for a controversial decision to partner with the Coca-Cola Company in a new public outreach campaign about the health risks of soda consumption.
"Coca-Cola, like other sodas, causes enormous suffering and premature death by increasing the risks of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, gout, and cavities," said Walter Willett of Harvard University. "[The academy] should be a loud critic of these products and practices, but by signing with Coke their voice has almost surely been muzzled".'
Twenty-two health specialists and consumer advocates have responded with a letter challenging the endorsement of artificial sweeteners as safe, and asking the academy to condemn sugary drinks "in the strongest language."
Alliances between medical associations and corporations promoting unhealthy products are not as uncommon as some might believe. In 2005, the American Academy of Family Physicians partnered with McDonald's to produce a fitness program. Its Web site also carries advertisements for deli meat and other commercial products. The American Academy of Pediatrics drew criticism in 2002 for allowing an infant formula company to advertise on breast feeding materials, and prior to that the American Medical Association stirred up anger by agreeing to endorse Sunbeam home appliances without even testing them.