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Coke Claims Innocence in Obesity Epidemic

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It didn’t take long for the big guns of the soda industry to challenge New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his crusade to eliminate sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces from movie theaters, restaurants, and deli’s. In response, Coca-Cola (KO) argues that Bloomberg has his facts wrong.

Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola’s president of sparkling beverages in North America, told USA Today, "There is no scientific evidence that connects sugary beverages to obesity." She went on to say that from 1999 through 2010 sugar intake from soda consumption fell 39%, as childhood obesity increased 13% and adult obesity rose 7%.

Don’t let Coca-Cola fool you into thinking they’re concerned about your well-being, however. In 2006, bottling companies responsible for Coca-Cola and Pepsi (PEP) hit schools across the country with astronomical fees when education officials began to remove soda and sugary beverages from cafeterias and vending machines.

Schools also share the blame. The Center for Disease Control reports that physical education has dramatically decreased in public schools and says The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that kids aged 6–17 years participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. In 2011, 29% of high school students surveyed had participated in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity on all 7 days before the survey, and only 31% attended physical education class everyday.

Not all is rosy in Bloomberg’s backyard, either. Last fall, the New York Times reported on an audit of the physical education program for city schools and not one of the schools visited were in full compliance with state guidelines. The city’s Department of Education has also failed to file its physical education plans with the state since 1982, ignoring state guidelines that plans be reviewed and updated every seven years.
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