Coca-Cola not to blame for US obesity: CEO

June 19, 2012

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent insists his company is not responsible for the rise in US obesity despite New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent moves to limit the consumption of sugary drinks.

"This is an important, complicated societal issue that we all have to work together to provide a solution," Kent told the in an interview published late Monday.

"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 said.

His remarks came just weeks after the health-conscious Bloomberg proposed a ban on super-sized that would restrict the sale to 16-ounce servings, more than an average can but far less than the bucket-sized beverages offered at cinemas, service stations and sporting events.

Kent said Coca-Cola has diversified from its namesake, offering a wide range of healthy teas, juices, and other products.

"We've gone from being a single-beverage, single-brand company to now 500-plus brands, 3,000 products. Eight hundred of these products we've introduced in the last four or five years are calorie-free or low-calorie.

"It is, I believe, incorrect and unjust to put the blame on any single ingredient, any single product, any single category of food," he said.

Bloomberg said the proposed ban was needed to confront the "epidemic" of obesity in the United States, which contributes to rising health costs.

Critics have derided the proposed ban as a "nanny state" overreach of government power.

They have also faulted the mayor for seeking to restrict certain unhealthy habits -- like smoking and -- while the city hosts eat-athons like the annual Coney Island hotdog competition.

The proposed measure would target fast-food and other restaurants, delis, and places of public entertainment like stadiums. It would not cover drinks sold in supermarkets or any diet, fruit, dairy or .

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wiyosaya
not rated yet Jun 19, 2012
I find it interesting how CEOs react in this kind of situation. Personally, because of the general distrust of CEOs in the US at this time, I doubt that many people will give this guy's statements any credibility. Maybe Coke is not solely responsible, however, I see it as definitely part of the problem.

That said, I personally think the problem is rather complex, and also involves the responsibility of each person for what they eat.

Maybe the ban in NYC is not the best of ideas, however, I think it will eventually get more people to consider what they are eating and how healthy it is. If people cannot make more healthy choices on their own, then perhaps they need a "nanny" to inform them of what is healthy, and certainly, this is an idea that people don't like because most feel that they can make these choices on their own.

With obesity on the rise in the US and elsewhere, I think it rather obvious that people do not make the best of choices where eating habits are concerned.

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