• Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), along with other organisations from across the world, urges Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to stop marketing sugared drinks to children
• The group asks for responsible action from the companies, specifically in view of their growing focus on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) like India
• Highlights role of sugar sweetened beverages in growing obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and limited ability of LMICs to tackle huge health and economic burden due to such diseases
New Delhi, April 22, 2016: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) along with health groups from across the globe such as the World Public Health Nutrition Association, World Obesity Federation, Consumers International and Center for Science in the Public Interest, has called on Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to adopt and enforce a policy of not marketing sugar drinks to children aged 16 and under.
“Sugary drinks are aggressively targeted to children world over. The problem is much severe in India. Our regulations are weak to address this issue. Companies are aggressively targeting our children, directly and indirectly. There is no check on celebrity endorsements, broadcasting during programs for children, in-school promotion,” says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.
“Sugary drinks are contributing to growing childhood obesity, early onset of type-2 diabetes. It is time that these big companies act responsibly and stop marketing these unhealthy drinks to children. It would be a big initiative from their side,” adds Bhushan.
The group wrote to Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and major institutional investors of these companies for their consideration at respective annual meetings scheduled soon. “While sugar-drink consumption in the United States and Europe has been declining, your company and others are investing billions of dollars annually to increase sales in low/middle-income countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America,” says the group’s joint letter to the companies.
Lower-income countries, in particular, will face steep and sometimes-unaffordable increases in the health-care costs associated with rising rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other soda-related health problems, the group says.
The companies are also urged to include warning notices about adverse health effects on soda containers, stop fighting public health measures aimed at reducing soda consumption, such as taxes, warning labels, or marketing restrictions.
Besides CSE, co-signers of the letter include ACT+ (Alliance for the Control of Tobacco Use and Health Promotion, Brazil); Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria (Nutritional Health Alliance, Mexico); Australia & New Zealand Obesity Society; Center for Science in the Public Interest (The United States); Coalición Latinoamérica Saludable (Healthy Latin America Coalition); Consumers International; Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor (Brazilian Consumer Defense Institute); InterAmerican Heart Foundation; International Baby Food Action Network; El Poder del Consumidor (Consumer Power, Mexico); World Obesity Federation; and the World Public Health Nutrition Association.