The Obesity Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting is in full swing this week and, given that it’s being held at Coca Cola headquarters in Atlanta, is inviting the stench of irony from many perplexed onlookers.
Invited guests include Dr. Thomas A. Farley, New York City’s Director of Public Health and a chief architect of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s wildly unpopular efforts at banning sodas in the city.
Beyond that, however, is a reputation of putting propaganda before science, as evidenced by an anti-soda ad campaign featuring an actor drinking literal fat, symbolizing one’s soft drink of choice. The New York Times subsequently rebuked Farley as having the mind of “a master propagandist, to the dismay of some who say he puts ideological zeal ahead of science.”
That same piece further noted such prohibition efforts “underlined complaints that Dr. Farley’s more lifestyle-oriented crusades are based on common-sense bromides that may not withstand strict scientific scrutiny.”
For his part, the doctor pushed back against claims he was eroding personal liberty by stating he was “creating a healthier environment that gives people the freedom to just go about their business without having to worry so much about being vigilant about their health behavior.”
In the face of such outcries of faulty science, Farley’s set to address the confab Thursday.
Yet its recent anti-obesity efforts on the parts of companies like Coca Cola that appear to have proven more successful than the Farley-Bloomberg model that ever invites controversy.
Coke has upped distribution of lower calorie drinks worldwide, and The Wall Street Journal noted the company “promised to sponsor physical activity programs and reiterated its commitment to not market its drinks to children under 12 years old in each of the more than 200 countries and territories that it operates.”
Such contrast has lent itself to further amusement from onlookers, who privately question inviting someone like Farley to a conference supposedly aimed at advancing scientific theories and solutions.