The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), recently accepted a six-figure grant from the Coca-Cola Corporation to "educate consumers about the role their products can play in a healthy, active lifestyle," and nutrition experts from Harvard University are not very happy about the new partnership.

Dr. Walter Willett, Head of Harvard's School of Public Health, expressed his concern in a letter to AAFP President-Elect Lori Heim, suggesting that using grant money from a soda company to educate consumers about nutrition could create a conflict of interest. "[W]hile consumers need such educational materials," the letter reads, "I think developing them with funding from Coca-Cola has the potential to call into question the objectivity of the information being disseminated." 

Instead, Willett recommends that the AAFP use educational material already available on the Harvard School of Public Health website and return the grant money provided by Coca-Cola. Although allowing others to link to your website is quite generous, it certainly isn't comparable to a big wad of cash. So don't expect the AAFP's relationship with the soda giant to end anytime soon.

Nonetheless, linking to content that has been vetted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health without industry funding would offer the AAFP an opportunity to provide educational material to their website visitors almost immediately, Willett says.

Citation: AAFP Press Release