On May 8, 2013 Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO, Muhtar Kent, announced the company’s comprehensive plan to fight obesity worldwide. The world’s largest beverage company is aggressively taking steps to be part of the solution to the global obesity problem.
Kent’s observation that obesity is a “very complicated societal issue” is more accurate and properly focused than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attack on oversized beverages. Bloomberg’s believe that soft drinks are the major culprit in the skyrocketing obesity numbers is misguided and uninformed.
Coke’s Coming Together ad is spot on when it points out that
1. all calories count no matter where they come from (including a Coke product)
2. if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off than you will gain weight
Since the 1960’s and 70’s our life styles have dramatically changed. We are parked in front of our TV’s and glued to our cell phones and computers. Many rarely walk anywhere except to get in and out of a car. Beginning in the 1980’s school systems around the country eliminated physical education and home economics leaving graduates with no lifetime skill sets to carry with them into adulthood.
By far the worse failures include the lack of understanding people have about their own bodies. They do not know how the human body responds to exercise, or the health benefits that can be derived from daily physical activity. Sadly, too many people lack even the most basic understanding about the food they eat. It is any wonder obesity has risen.
When Kent made the announcement about Coke’s global obesity initiatives, he was joined by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed. They announced a series of collaborative programs designed to help get Georgians active and moving.
To support that effort Coke is donating $1 million to Georgia SHAPE to help fight childhood obesity.
The money will help implement a Georgia SHAPE initiative encouraging 30 minutes of additional physical activity in all Georgia elementary schools. This physical activity is in addition to structured physical education classes. The data is clear: Physical activity means higher test scores, increased attention in class and a healthier student population.
As might be expected Coke’s program is not without its critics, most with snarky comments about what the program isn’t. The program may not be perfect, but Coke has reached out and brought together corporate, educational, and civic groups with a common goal, to fight obesity. They are to be applauded.