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 .

Explore further: Soda wars fizz in New York after proposed ban

Related Stories

Soda wars fizz in New York after proposed ban

June 12, 2012
A soda war fizzed in New York on Tuesday as the city health department began to consider a proposal by health-conscious Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban super-sized soft drinks.

NY proposes ban on sale of oversized sodas (Update 3)

May 31, 2012
(AP) — New York City's mayor is proposing an unprecedented ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks in the hopes of combating obesity — an expansion of efforts to encourage healthy behavior that have ...

Feds oppose ban on food stamps for sodas in NYC

August 20, 2011
(AP) -- A plan by New York City to combat obesity by restricting the purchase of sugary drinks with foods stamps would be too large and complex, federal officials said Friday.

After NY ban on big sodas proposed, what's next?

June 1, 2012
(AP) — Just how far would a government go to protect us from ourselves?

Recommended for you

Air pollution linked to poorer quality sperm

November 22, 2017
Air pollution, particularly levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), is associated with poorer quality sperm, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Sunrise and sunset guide daily activities of city-dwellers

November 21, 2017
Despite artificial lightning and social conventions, the dynamics of daylight still influence the daily activities of people living in modern, urban environments, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

Older men need more protein to maintain muscles

November 21, 2017
The amount of protein recommended by international guidelines is not sufficient to maintain muscle size and strength in older men, according to a new study.

Exercising and eating well are greater contributors to health than standing at work

November 21, 2017
By now you've probably heard the edict from the health community: Sitting is the new smoking. Perhaps you've converted to a standing desk, or maybe you have a reminder on your phone to get up once an hour and walk around ...

Motorcycle crashes cause five times as many deaths as car accidents, six times the health costs

November 20, 2017
Motorcycle accidents are costly in terms of lives and health care costs. Compared with car accidents, motorcycle accidents cause 3 times the injuries, 6 times the medical costs and 5 times the deaths, found new research in ...

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

November 17, 2017
A team of Swedish scientists have used national registries of more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health. Their study shows that dog owners had a lower ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.