I read on Belly Belly http://www.bellybelly.com.au/ that the American Academy of Family Physicians partnered with Coca Cola. I found that hard to believe so went to the source and sure enough, there on the AAFP's website was the proudly stated announcement that on the 6th October, the AAFP announced the Consumer Alliance, a new corporate partnership program, with its first alliance partner, The Coca-Cola Company.
According to the media release:
"The Consumer Alliance is a program that allows corporate partners like The Coca-Cola Company to work with the AAFP to educate consumers about the role their products can play in a healthy, active lifestyle".
Coca Cola? Healthy active lifestyle? What role Coca Cola's products can play? What a minute! Isn't Coca Cola full of sugar? Isn't obesity increasingly associated with a frighteningly increasing list of health problems for people in the western world?
The media release continues:
"As part of this partnership, The Coca-Cola Company is providing a grant to the AAFP to develop consumer education content on beverages and sweeteners for FamilyDoctor.org, an award-winning consumer health and wellness resource".
Aha! Money. This buy ability and the subliminally associated street credibility is why no company that manufactures breastmilk substitutes is able to fund midwifery or breastfeeding related educational materials or conferences (for ethically sound organisations)
"The AAFP recognizes the significant influence that consumer companies have on consumer health,” said Lori Heim, M.D., president-elect of the AAFP. “We look forward to working with The Coca-Cola Company, and other companies in the future, on the development of educational materials to teach consumers how to make the right choices and incorporate the products they love into a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.”
This statement would be really really funny if it weren't so sad and distressing.
"About the AAFP Consumer Alliance
In addition to health care providers, AAFP recognizes that consumer products companies have significant influence over consumer health. Therefore, the Consumer Alliance is a strategy whereby AAFP aims to partner with companies who demonstrate good corporate stewardship and a strategic focus on consumer health."
My understanding is that we all have blind spots. Our role as health professionals is to examine evidence and use evidence to inform our practice, seeking to identify and overcome our blind spots, gaps in information and overall ignorance.
Seemingly, we can convince ourselves of anything if the reward is great enough.
The aafp News Now newsletter November 2009 • Volume 5 • Number 11 (online) states proudly:
"The Consumer Alliance program also will create a new source of funding for AAFP, which, in recent years, has broadened its search for funding outside the pharmaceutical industry. “We’ve made a conscious effort to diversify our sources of revenue,” Heim said. “This is the first of what we hope will be many Consumer Alliance agreements".
American Academy of Family Physicians Launches Consumer Alliance With First Partner: The Coca-Cola Company -- Media Center -- American Academy of Family Physicians