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Coca Cola Launches New Campaign Against Obesity, Will Stop Marketing to Children

Update Date: May 08, 2013 02:53 PM EDT
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Coca Cola has announced that it wants to do more in the fight against obesity, by urging children to drink less...Coca Cola.

The Atlanta-based corporation announced that it was beginning a new initiative called Coming Together, the Los Angeles Times reports. The company says that they would put nutritional information on the front of every soft drink that it manufactures, as well as offering low- or no-calorie alternatives to all of its beverages. Perhaps the most wide-reaching of the company's announcement is its decision to stop marketing to children, which it defines as at least 35 percent of an event's audience.

If it seems like old news, that is because it is - in the United States, at least. The soft drink company has long enacted those changes in the United States. However, the same cannot be true for the rest of the world, which is also gripped in an obesity epidemic. In many emerging markets, it is difficult or impossible to find diet alternatives to Coke, for example - despite the fact that the diet version of Coke now makes up 41 percent of the soda's purchases, according to the Associated Press. The company gave no timeline for these changes.

The announcement came in the wake of increasing sentiment against soft drinks. New York City attempted to try a soda ban earlier this year, though that has been held off by a judge's ruling. When pop star Beyonce announced that rival PepsiCo would sponsor her, the news was greeted with a public outcry.

However, many critics say that Coca Cola's announcement is simply a ploy to sell more beverages, not to improve public health. According to Bloomberg, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that the soda giant has spent $70 million on lobbying and message advertisements in order to defeat 30 soda taxes that would have appeared in various states.

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