Friday, March 12, 2010

Yale School of Medicine & Pepsi: A Questionable Relationship?

As any parent knows, the multinationals’ marketing influence is omnipresent in kids' lives. Licensing tie-ins between movies and fast food restaurants abound, while cartoon characters are festooned on the boxes of all types of junk food.

But, shockingly, these tricks are no longer just for kids. In what direction are we headed as a society when one of our great universities allows a food conglomerate entry not just inside its dining halls and sports arenas but into the actual rarefied halls of academia?

According to a Yale University Office of Public Affairs press release from December 2009:
“PepsiCo, one of the world's largest food and beverage companies, will fund a graduate fellowship in the M.D.-Ph.D. Program at Yale School of Medicine to support research related to nutritional science.”
Excuse me? The Yale School of Medicine is including itself, Pepsi and nutritional science in the same sentence? What happened to the Hippocratic Oath? Did someone at Yale Med do a Google and type “Hypocritic Oath” by mistake?

And the “I’ve Lost My Marbles” quotation of the year goes to Dr. Robert Alpern, dean and the Ensign Professor at Yale School of Medicine:
"PepsiCo's commitment to improving health through proper nutrition is of great importance to the well-being of people in this country and throughout the world.”
I may sound passionate about the Yale-Pepsi connection, but for Big Gulp-sized fervor read Michele Simon’s take on the subject. Simon, a public health lawyer who graduated from the Yale School of Public Health, offers a more personal and detailed account of the deal. Click here for Simon’s blog and make sure to scroll down to her March 7 post.


cindy said...

It would be nice to see nutritional science work drinking Pepsi in moderation into a healthy lifestyle.

I'm a fitness instructor and, while I certainly don't advocate, I have no problem if a client wants to drink a Pepsi every now and then. In fact, I drink a Pepsi every now and then. It tastes good, it pairs well with certain foods, and the key to anything in life is moderation. e.g. You don't get a refill. You don't buy a two-liter or 20 oz., etc..

We drank Pepsi in my house growing up but we were active, played sports, ate healthy meals and snacks, were not allowed to partake in unlimited TV and video games, we didn't have computers, etc.

The point is that we were moving and shaking all the time. It's the motivation to get off our asses that Americans lack more than anything else, and sadly this is reflecting upon our children.

Much like educating people about sex, this could be beneficial if used in the right way because people aren't going to stop doing it. I'd love to see PepsiCo take this opportunity to do something good for the world.

Dr Kadiyali M Srivatsa said...

Thank you for reminding the doctors about "Hippocrates Oath”.

Leaders of healthcare profession have long forgotten this and think they are indestructible. If you read about antibiotics and resistant bacteria, you will see not many companies invested or encouraged this research since 1970s, now the bugs are making a mockery of our advances and knowledge.

Most drug research and medical journals thrive on sponsorship by companies with vested interest. There is in no way doctors like me can stand-up and speak out the truth.