WABE News
3:38 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Coca-Cola Pledges $5 Million for State and City Children's Health Initiatives

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Khan.
Credit Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola today pledged nearly $5 million to city and state initiatives aimed at boosting children’s health and fitness.

The announcement was made as the company celebrated its 127th year in business.

Coca-Cola will donate a million dollars each to Georgia SHAPE and Walk Georgia – state programs that promote physical activity. Another million will go to expanding after-school recreation centers in Atlanta.

"What we want to do is take these programs and make them best practice in the world so we can learn from those and apply them in other states effectively,” said Coca-Cola’s CEO Muhtar Kent.

In recent years, Coca-Cola and other manufacturers of sugary drinks have come under fire from public health officials tasked with reducing the nation's high obesity rates. 

Kent said the company would begin showing calorie counts on the front of all bottles and cans. And he reaffirmed a promise not to advertise to children.

"This means no ads on children’s TV programs. No marketing in places where children under 12 make up more than 35 percent of the audience." 

Gov. Nathan Deal applauded the company's efforts and said the donated money would help tackle the state's high obesity rate.

“Budgets are sometimes squeezed in terms of having extra money to do anything. This will be the extra money to do the things we all want to achieve."

A few years ago, Georgia ranked second worst in the country in childhood obesity. The state has since improved, ranking 17th from the bottom this past year.