Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent: Don't Blame Obesity Epidemic on Sugary Sodas

Image Muhtar Kent, the chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co., says it's unfair to blame soda manufacturers for the alarming epidemic of obesity and diabetes, but says the company is working on a healthy-lifestyle program that could be rolled out globally within the next three years.

"It is, I believe, incorrect and unjust to put the blame [of obesity] on any single ingredient, any single product, any single category of food," Kent told the Wall Street Journal on June 19, 2012. "Eight hundred of the products we've introduced in the last four or five years are calorie-free or low-calorie."

However, Kent, 60, concedes that obesity is a huge problem that Coca-Cola wants to help find a solution for.

"This is an important, complicated societal issue that we all have to work together to provide a solution," he says. "That's why we are working with government, business and civil society to have active-lifestyle programs in every country we operate by 2015."

 Kent suggested that the proposed move by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban the sale of super-sized sugary drinks in the city's restaurants, stadiums and food carts is short-sighted.

The proposal, which was approved by the NYC Board of Health, has picked up steam, as the mayor of Cambridge, Mass., proposed similar legislation, as has Los Angeles councilman Mitch Englander, who's trying to ban the sale of sodas in he city's parks and libraries.

While some have criticized Mayor Bloomberg's large-soda ban as fascist, others, like former President Bill Clinton, wholeheartedly support the move.

"I think he's doing the right thing," Clinton, 65, told CNN. "If you get rid of these giant, full-of-sugar, drinks and make people have smaller portions, it will help.

"I know a lot of people think, 'Well, this is a nanny state and [Bloomberg is] interfering.' But these are very serious problems. It's like shortening your life and undermining the quality of your life and exploding the cost of our healthcare system." (Source:, Samantha Chang)

Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07