Public health charities are under intense pressure from potential or ongoing commercial sponsors to boost their budgets with product promotion schemes. For example, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) currently has a $1.5 million sponsorship deal with Cadbury Schweppes, maker of Dr. Pepper and the Cadbury Creme egg. The company gets bragging and ADA logo rights for some “healthy” products, like Snapple unsweetened tea, while fattening consumers with others. “The ADA still needs to pay more attention to prevention,” said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University. Next up: the ADA soon must rule on whether it approves of drug therapy for prediabetes, an obesity-linked condition affecting 41 million people in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies sponsor the ADA’s primary convention and six out of seven members of the ADA’s prediabetes panel have financial relationships with Big Pharma--including three out of seven with one company, GlaxoSmithKline, that is seeking the panel’s blessing. Meanwhile, the American Heart Association (AHA) has been brokering agreements with the American Beverage Association and snack food companies that keep brand names and vending machines operating in U.S. schools. The AHA has accepted millions of dollars from food makers that seek the organization's "heart-check" seal of approval.
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