- The University of Colorado School of Medicine is returning a $1 million grant from Coca-Cola Co. that was originally given to the university to fund the creation of the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), a nonprofit group of scientists that emphasized the link between lack of exercise and obesity over diet choices.
- Coca-Cola and GEBN were at the center of controversy with public health advocates earlier this year after a New York Times report first examined the financial relationship between the two. Coca-Cola later said the report had "created confusion" and the company has "always operated under the fact that a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise are key ingredients for a healthy lifestyle," according to chief technical officer Ed Hays in a USA Today column.
- In a statement, the university said it was returning the money because "the funding source has distracted attention from its worthwhile goal." Coca-Cola said in its own statement that the company would donate the returned sum to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
After the New York Times article came out, Coca-Cola responded by disclosing the nearly $120 million the company had spent on academic health research and partnerships for health programs to fight obesity in the U.S. since 2010, including how much money went where.
The plan had unintended consequences. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which had accepted $3 million and $1.7 million from Coca-Cola respectively since 2010, both announced they would end their relationships with Coca-Cola following the disclosure.