Coke CEO launches "calorie count transparency" campaign to fight obesity

coca-cola, obesity, diet coke, 180 calories, obesity campaign
This undated image shows a frame grab taken from a new commercial from Coca-Cola. The Atlanta-based company on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, said it will start airing a two-minute spot during the highest-rated shows on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC in hopes of flexing its marketing muscle in the debate over sodas and their impact on public health. The ad lays out Coca-Cola's record of providing drinks with fewer calories over the years and notes that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind, not just soda. (AP Photo/Coca0Cola)

(CBS News) The Coca-Cola company announced a new, comprehensive plan to fight obesity worldwide on Wednesday.The world's largest beverage company now plans to list calorie counts on both the front of their cans and bottles, and will sponsor fitness programs in Atlanta and other U.S. cities, as well as limit advertising geared specifically at children.

According to Harvard's School of Public Health Consumption, sugary drinks have been linked to a 20 percent increased risk of heart attack for men who drank one sugary beverage daily and a 60 percent increased risk of becoming obese for children who consume one sugary drink per day.

Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent announced the upcoming changes Wednesday on "CBS This Morning," and while he backed away from allowing that Coke could be a primary contributor to the obesity epidemic -- which he calls a "very complicated societal issue...We want to be part of the solution."

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The corporation will make a renewed effort to provide "transparent, nutritional front-of-pack labeling" and "effective active lifestyle programs in every country where we do business" as well as promote "responsible marketing," but Kent insists that "we cannot be the only single entity that solves this" and called on "government, businesses like us, and civil society" to provide solutions and health awareness.

Kent also touched the Coke's continued response to health care advocates and critics in government -- including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- who claim that oversized beverages are a main culprit behind the skyrocketing obesity numbers.

"We have launched many portion control packs in the last three years," Kent said, citing "smaller cans, smaller bottles" and their new push to bring "calorie count in front of the packages and label them very transparently."