I have also received funding from the National Cancer Institute to train medical students in weight management counseling. So I know firsthand, how little we as physicians know about diet and exercise -- and how to counsel patients regarding these health behaviors.
It does not help me as a teacher of family medicine to have Coca-Cola as the resource of health information for both patients and family doctors.
Many of us in family medicine feel we cannot defend this situation. In fact, a good number of family physicians have quit the Academy because of this decision.
If you struggle with your weight, try cutting out about 500 calories a day. Increase your physical activity; walking is an excellent choice. The CDC has excellent resources to help you make the "informed decisions" you need to make in order to control your weight. You do not have to starve yourself or train for a triathlon to be healthy.
But it would definitely help to cut out soft drinks.
And it would help if the American Academy of Family Physicians to give the $500,000 donation back in recognition of the terrible health message this sends to our nation.
Forgoing that money would be an excellent informed decision, indeed.
Dr. John Spangler is director of tobacco-intervention programs and a professor of family medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina.