Monday, December 28, 2015

CU nutrition expert accepts $550,000 from Coca-Cola for obesity campaign Coca-Cola money highlights risks of corporate influence

A University of Colorado professor who launched a global campaign to fight obesity accepted $550,000 from the Coca-Cola Co., traveled the world at company expense on speaking engagements and solicited a job at the soft-drink giant for his son.

James Hill, a nutrition expert who directs the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, also obtained Coca-Cola's help to run conferences for journalists that sought to "balance" an obesity debate focused on sugary drinks and featured a speaker who disparaged soda taxes.

The Coca-Cola connection highlights the secrecy surrounding much of the corporate money pouring into CU's prestigious Anschutz medical campus.

n addition to the money it paid directly to Hill, not through the university, Coca-Cola donated $1 million to CU Anschutz to help Hill spread his message through a group called the Global Energy Balance Network. That was classified as a private gift to the university's foundation, protected by state law from disclosure unless the donor consents.

The CU foundation has accepted $50.7 million in such gifts from a thousand corporations in the past five fiscal years, a small amount of which may be directed to research.

On the research front, CU Anschutz has spent $183 million from corporate and other nongovernment sponsors since 2011.

The top 20, all drug companies, invested $77 million alone.

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