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Brenda Fitzgerald, the newly appointed director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will consider allowing Coca-Cola to once again help fund the agency’s anti-obesity campaigns, according to e-mailed comments reported by the New York Times over the weekend.
Though it would be a turnabout for the agency—which ditched Coke funding in 2013—Fitzgerald’s position shouldn’t be surprising, as she has a controversial history of accepting funding from Coca-Cola.

As health commissioner of Georgia from 2011 to this year, she accepted $1 million from the soda giant to fund an exercise program aimed at cutting the state’s childhood obesity rate—one of the highest in the country.
The exercise-based campaign seemed to fit well with Coca-Cola’s interests.

The company has long appeared interested in shifting anti-obesity efforts toward improving physical activity levels rather than focusing on the role of diet, particularly sugary beverages.

That’s despite many studies, including those by the CDC, that have found that sugar-loaded drinks are a prominent factor in childhood obesity, as well as the development of associated health conditions such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. Nevertheless, in 2015, a Times investigation revealed that Coke had been secretly funding and orchestrating a network of academic nutrition researchers, which had a suspiciously keen focus on combating obesity with exercise while downplaying the role of sweetened beverages and excess calories.
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