Primary-care physicians leave AAFP over Coca-Cola partnership

It seems that the American Academy of Family Physicians is getting flack for its agreement with The Coca-Cola Co., under which the group is tasked with educating consumers on how Coke products fit into a healthy lifestyle.

Under the terms of the deal, the AAFP will receive a grant to develop consumer content related to Coca-Cola drinks and sweeteners. The content will appear on the association's health and wellness site, FamilyDoctor.org.

This didn't sit well with some of the AAFP's members, however. A group of physicians affiliated with San Francisco-based Contra Costa Health Services have quit the AAFP over the partnership, which was announced last month. This includes Contra Costa Health director Dr. William Walker, who has been a member of the association for 25 years. He argues that Coke products promote obesity by introducing extra sugar into children's diets.

"I am appalled and ashamed of the partnership," Walker said in a press release. "How can any organization that claims to promote public health join forces with a company that promotes products that sicken our children?"

Walker is encouraging other doctors to resign from the AAFP, hoping that if the group gets enough negative feedback, it will extricate itself from its relationship with the beverage giant.

To learn more about the controversy:
- read this Atlanta Business Journal piece
- read this AAFP press release
- read Dr. Walker's press release

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