Medical school returns Coca-Cola's $1M award

The University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora said Friday it will not accept funds from Coca-Cola to support its Global Energy Balance Network, a nonprofit obesity research firm.

According to coverage in The New York Times the school is returning the $1 million donation because the advocacy group allowed Coca-Cola to downplay the link between soft drinks and obesity and influence obesity research.

In September, the soft drink manufacturer said it has spent almost $120 million since 2010 to fund academic health research, most notably $3.1 million to the American College of Cardiology, $3.5 million to the American Academy of Family Physicians, $3 million to the American Academy of Pediatrics and $1.7 million to the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics.

Since Coca-Cola made this announcement, all the above-mentioned groups said they planned to terminate their partnerships with the company.Now CU School of Medicine is following suit.

"While the network continues to advocate for good health through a balance of healthy eating habits and exercise, the funding source has distracted attention from its worthwhile goal," a CU School of Medicine statement reads. "Obesity and related health issues are serious concerns for personal medical care and public health. The School of Medicine and physicians and researchers on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are making significant contributions to the understanding of and care for these health-related issues and the source of funding for the network should not distract from their efforts."


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