November 30th, 2015
Coca-Cola Chief Scientist Steps Down Amid Obesity Research Controversy
By Angela Laguipo
Coca-Cola’s chief scientist and health officer Rhona Applebaum steps down from her post amid scrutiny the company received after funding a research on obesity to divert the blame to sedentary lifestyle.
In August, controversy swirled over Coca-Cola funding a research to shift the blame for poor health from excessive caloric intake to a lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle. Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN) is a non-profit foundation consisting of university professors originally established to combat obesity through evidence-based studies and research.
“Our engagement and financial support of these well-respected experts, institutions and organizations were made with the best of intentions - to inform our business, support our local communities and support solutions to the public health issues facing people across the United States and around the world,” Sandy Douglas, President of Coca-Cola, North America wrote in his letter to the public.
However, newly uncovered emails show that the research done by GEBN were influenced by Coca-Cola. In fact, the emails between James Hill, GEBN president and University of Colorado professor and Rhona Applebaum, chief health and science officer for Coca-Cola, show that the research funding aims to stress the importance of diet and exercise and change Coke’s image of being a health hazard.