Coke CEO: If You’re Fat, Blame Yourself, Not Us

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Thursday, October 08, 2009 at 8:43 am

Henry Blodget at Clusterstock points out that Coke CEO Muhtar Kent penned a Wall Street Journal editorial that suggests people are fat and lazy all on their own, and not because of his company’s product. Kent wrote his pithy observations Wednesday to protest a possible soda tax to pay for health care reform.

From the Journal:

While it is true that since the 1970s Americans have increased their average caloric intake by 12%, they also have become more sedentary. According to the National Center for Health Statistics 2008 Chartbook, 39% of adults in the U.S. are not engaging in leisure physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that 60% of Americans are not regularly active and 25% of Americans are not active at all. The average American spends the equivalent of 60 days a year in front of a television, according to a 2008 A.C. Nielsen study. This same research data show that the average time spent playing video games in the U.S. went up by 25% during the last four years.

If we’re genuinely interested in curbing obesity, we need to take a hard look in the mirror and acknowledge that it’s not just about calories in. It’s also about calories out.

Or we could take a hard look in the mirror and say that people who drink too many sugary sodas end up with health problems that cost all of us, and that the companies that market those drinks, especially to kids, should face the consequences of a tax on their product to pay for it all.

It’s easier, as Kent demonstrates, to spout off about Americans being lazy. But you’d think a company like Coke would have the kind of public relations department that might frown on insulting people to make your point. Maybe next the people who make Ho Hos and Sno Balls should write scolding op-eds telling people to make sure they renew their gym memberships.

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