Coke may have influenced anti-obesity group

Emails published by the Associated Press on Tuesday indicate a group founded to fight obesity received substantial financial and organizational help from Coca-Cola.

Called the Global Energy Balance Network and led by a professor from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the group got help from the soft-drink maker in picking its leaders, crafting its mission statement and choosing articles and videos for its website, the AP reported. Coke also has given the group $1.5 million in funding.

The network has said Coke has no influence on its work. But in several emails, top officials from both groups share ideas for research and discuss how they can work together. "I want to help your company avoid the image of being a problem in people's lives and back to being a company that brings important and fun things to them," says an email last November from the network's president to a top Coke executive.

When asked about the emails, Coca-Cola Co. CEO Muhtar Kent said it "has become clear to us that there was not a sufficient level of transparency with regard to the company's involvement with the Global Energy Balance Network."

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