WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A U.S. health advocacy group in Washington is urging a government agency to drop Coca-Cola as its partner in a program to raise awareness of heart health.
In a letter to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said the government health agency should not partner with Coca-Cola; Snyder's of Hanover, a producer of snack foods made largely of white flour and salt; and Sara Lee, famous for its cheesecakes, hot dogs and Jimmy Dean sausages.
Those foods, like Coke and other sugary soft drinks, are exactly the kinds of foods that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises people to eat less of, the letter said.
"It is as inappropriate as it would be to allow Philip Morris to sponsor NHLBI's anti-smoking efforts," Michael F. Jacobson and George A. Hacker said in the letter. "Although Diet Coke is the ostensible sponsor, it is the entire Coca-Cola product line that is basking in the credibility conferred by a government heart-health agency and a slender supermodel, when in fact Coca-Cola promotes heart disease by marketing drinks that contribute to obesity."