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Are we selling our souls? Novel aspects of the presence in academic conferences of brands linked to ill health
  1. Stuart W Flint1,2
  1. 1Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to
    Dr Stuart W Flint, Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University, A211 Collegiate Hall, Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S10 2BP, UK; S.Flint{at}shu.ac.uk

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There is evidence linking unhealthy food and drink consumption to ill health such as diabetes.1–3 Counterintuitively, research demonstrating these links has been presented at national and international health promotion conferences sponsored by companies that manufacture and sell unhealthy food and drink; primarily conferences related to public health, sport and exercise, nutrition and dietetics.4 ,5 For example, Flint4 reported the presence of The Coca-Cola Co. at the European College of Sport Sciences (ECSS) conference in 2014, while in the same year Hérick de Sá5 also noted that they were a sponsor at the Fifth International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health. The Coca-Cola Co. have also been a yearly sponsor of the National Conference on Health Disparities in the USA. It seems unfathomable that such companies were present at health-related conferences where, for example within the ECSS mission statement, it is specified that the purpose includes the application of sport science knowledge to sports competition, performance, improving health, well-being, fitness and social relationships,6 and much of the research presented at the conference aimed to improve health and well-being. The Coca-Cola Co. were a Gold sponsor, an exhibitor and sponsored three streams of oral presentations at ECSS 2014. Likewise, McDonalds Corp. and other food companies have a history of sponsoring nutrition research and conferences. For example, in 2014 McDonalds Corp was a Gold sponsor at the California Dietetics Association conference in Pomona, USA. Furthermore, food and drink companies that produce unhealthy products such as McDonalds Corp. and The Coca-Cola Co. have been major sponsors of sports events such as the Olympics. More recently, these companies have increasingly …

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