"The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) has been heavily criticized in the USA and Europe for promoting exercise and downplaying the need for people to cut down on excessive sugary drinks..."
Susan Greenhalgh, a Harvard scholar who wrote the papers, says ILSI's activities show the difficulty in assessing how food makers could skew public policy around the world. [I] n China, ILSI is so well-placed that it runs its operations from inside the government's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing. They found that from 2004 to 2015, ILSI-China sponsored six worldwide conferences on obesity, which often featured scientists who promote the idea that exercise, not diet, plays the key role in preventing and lowering rates of obesity. These scientists also oftentimes receive money from the industry.
Happy 10 Minutes, a Chinese government campaign that encouraged schoolchildren to exercise for 10 minutes a day, would seem a laudable step toward improving public health in a nation struggling with alarming rates of childhood obesity.
"Through a complex web of institutional, financial, and personal linkages, Coke was able to influence China's health establishment".
But Prof Greenhalgh says that, via ILSI-China, the company has "cleverly manoeuvred itself into a position of behind-the-scenes power that ensures that government policy to fight the growing obesity epidemic does not undermine its interests".
In response to the report, ILSI spokeswoman Kristin DiNicolantonio said the institute does not lobby, do lobbying activities or make policy recommendations.
"Because of its unique public-private structure, ILSI fills knowledge gaps and serves society in ways that any one entity on its own can not", DiNicolantonio said.