Happiness, Movement, and a Coke: The Real Thing?

Yesterday, I saw a CNN report on Coca-Cola.  Today, NPR covered Coca-Cola’s anti-obesity, “Happiness is Movement” campaign.   I guess Coca Cola got left behind in the emerging beverage race, and it now catching up.

A couple of health factoids about me:

  1. I feel better when I exercise; I’m not all that consistent.
  2. I’ve been a calorie counter for years.
  3. I’m overweight, with a BMI of 25.9. (18.5-24.9 is considered a normal, healthy BMI)
  4. I love Coke products —I only drink diet sodas.

According to the NPR piece, there are those who criticize Coca-Cola for sponsoring health and fitness related programs for kids.

Coca-Cola’s Live Positively slogan and the soda-maker’s familiar red-and-white logo pop up on the American Academy of Pediatrics‘ consumer education website, healthychildren.org, in a corporate sponsorship that some health experts denounce as a serious conflict of interest.—Chicago Tribune (click here to view the entire article.)

Some critics liken this type of sponsorship with Green Peace sporting Exxon logos.  The two don’t go together.  Besides the sponsorships, Coca-Cola has its own “Happiness is Movement” campaign to encourage the public to move more (and enjoy a Coke.)


Please click on the picture to view the video. It’s rather catchy.

Coca Cola, in an effort to catch up in the beverage wars, is installing state of the art soda fountains where you can add your own flavors, Coca-Cola freestyle.  An ink cartridge type dispenser adds concentrated flavors to your beverage choice, then feeds the information back to the home office, where the data is collated.  Perhaps the new next best thing will come from the data collected.  Guess what?  Plain old Coke Classic is by far the most popular choice.

Coca-Cola has a wide range of bottled beverages besides sodas: flavored milk, vitamin water, sports drink, mineral water, etc.  The nutritional information is available for all of these.  You can compare the ingredients, % of recommended daily intake, and nutritional values with a click of the mouse.  (Click here to chooses your comparison.)

On one side, the critics would like me to believe that eliminating sugary drinks like Coke is the answer to our obesity epidemic.  On the other side, Coca-Cola wants me to believe it is interested in our health and well-being.

Remember when fat-free was the answer to our health problems?  Before that, we had the sugar-free solution.  As far back as President Kennedy, we had the Youth Fitness Congress.  First Lady Michelle Obama has her Let’s Move and You Are What You Eat initiatives.


Please click on the picture to view the video.

Ah.. that life was so simple:  to drink or not to drink a sugary beverage.

I remember when Kool-Aid and Jello were favorite sugary snacks.  Tang, another sugary beverage, was what the astronauts and the children drank with breakfast. My school lunch was a sandwich, an apple, a thermos of whole milk, and two chocolate chip cookies. I was a tiny thing.  I remember only one chubby little girl in my class of thirty or so kids.  This is not far from the statistics of 4% for my time period, which I found on Livestrong.com.  Now the rate is 17%.

Here’s what I think:

  1. Coca-Cola is a corporation with a goal to increase profits.
  2. A soda is neither healthy or unhealthy.  It is a beverage high in refined sugar that is easily metabolized by the body.
  3. Coca-Cola is a safe food.
  4. Almost any safe food consumed in extreme quantities can be harmful, even water.
  5. The obesity epidemic is a result of a complex set of lifestyle variables,
  6. The solution to the obesity epidemic is complex.

The message is clear enough, but change, it is slow a-coming. Perhaps one way to stop the obesity epidemic is to look at why the rate was lower way back then.  What did we do differently?



Enhanced by Zemanta