Doctors Want To Ban The Coca Cola Truck Because It's Making Us Fat - But You're Not Happy

Holidays aren't coming?

Coca Cola Van

It's been a solid Christmas tradition for the last five years, but doctors have warned that the Coca Cola Christmas truck could be to blame for obesity.

There have been calls from health experts to ban the lit-up red track - which made 44 stops nationwide in Christmas 2016 - amid fears that fizzy drinks are damaging our health.

Writing in a piece in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Robin Ireland, director of Food Active, a campaign based in north west England to tackle rising obesity levels, and John Ashton, a public health consultant in Liverpool, said Coca-Cola's corporate marketing was shaping public health.

The company was attempting to “frame the debate around healthy weight” they claimed, with event sponsorship, community sports funding and raising money to to offer food aid.

The report reads: “At Christmas, Coca-Cola’s marketing goes into overdrive as newspapers across the country regurgitate press releases for its Christmas truck tour, with advertorials promoting the truck as a Christmas tradition.

"And of course the truck is just the latest of Coca-Cola’s campaigns to become a holiday brand and, indeed, to help brand Santa Claus himself.

“This Christmas the truck visited five locations in north west England in the first week of December: two in Greater Manchester plus Lancaster, Liverpool, and St Helens."

Their concern comes as a single can of Coca-Cola contains seven teaspoons of sugar - according to information on the Coca-Cola website.

“With figures showing that 33.8% of 10 to 11-year-olds in the north west are overweight or obese and that 33.4% of five-years-olds have tooth decay, many public health departments have used their ever-squeezed budgets to launch campaigns about sugary drinks to try to help their communities reduce their consumption.

“So Coca-Cola’s campaign was scarcely welcomed by local directors of public health, medical professionals, educationalists, or indeed members of the public.”

Members of the Faculty of Public Health are among the signatories saying: “We can celebrate without allowing Coca-Cola to hijack Christmas by bringing false gifts of bad teeth and weight problems to our children.”

"We believe it should and will continue to push for national action from organisations such as Public Health England to stop similar campaigns next Christmas.”

A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Great Britain said: “We had a really positive response from consumers to last year’s Christmas truck tour. As part of the experience people could enjoy a small 150ml can of Coca-Cola Classic or one of our two no-sugar options - Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.

“We operate the tour in line with our responsible marketing policy and we do not provide drinks to under-12s unless their parent or guardian is present and happy for us to do so," reports the Independent.

Mancunian commenters on Twitter dismissed the report, with one tweeting: "Oh yeah cos looking at the cola truck makes you fat."

Another added: "Shhh let people enjoy things," and "Moderation is the key! There's always Diet Coke. Sick of our enjoyment being ambushed due to others' weak will."

Coca Cola has released a statement, with a spokesperson saying that the issues with health predate the truck.

“The Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour began in 2011. Looking at the data referenced by the BMJ opinion piece shows that the dental health of children in the North West has been consistently improving since 2008 and that childhood obesity is lower than at any time since 2010."

They add that they believe government data shows sugar intake from soft drinks by both children and teenagers continues to decline and consumption of full-sugar soft drinks in general has fallen by 44% since 2004.

“We will continue to take actions to help people to reduce the sugar they consume from our range of drinks, but the evidence suggests the current focus on sugar and soft drinks alone will not address the problem.”

Written By

Kirstie McCrum

Chatty horror movie buff with a love for languages and puppies. Manchester blow-in who loves the city completely.

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