Global Energy Balance Network

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Global Energy Balance Network
Founded2014; 6 years ago (2014) at the University of Colorado and University of South Carolina
ExtinctionNovember 30, 2015 (November 30, 2015)
Typenon profit
Purposefront group for Coca-Cola [1]
Productsobesity research
James O. Hill
Founder & Vice-President [1]
Steven N. Blair
Gregory A. Hand (was registered to Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta)[1]

The Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN) was a US-based nonprofit claiming to fund research into causes of obesity, but was primarily known for promoting the idea that lack of exercise, not bad diet, was primarily responsible for the obesity epidemic. It has been characterised as an astroturfing[2] organisation. It received substantial funding from Coca-Cola.[3][4] It has been criticised by nutrition experts for downplaying the role of junk food in obesity.[5] Critics have also accused the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) of supporting GEBN.[6] The ACSM claims it had no affiliation with GEBN.[7]

GEBN's view of weight and metabolic health promoted the idea that weight loss can be achieved by taking more exercise while maintaining the same[8] level of consumption[9] - this view "crosses a line by advancing a view that falls outside the scientific consensus", and presents an overly simplistic view of the energy balance equation, with experts noting that "evidence for eating less as a weight-loss strategy is much, much stronger than the evidence for moving more".[10]


Coca-Cola was given a 2015 Shonky Award by Australian consumer organisation Choice, due to its funding of GEBN,[11] which amounted to at least $1.5m in 2015.[3]

On November 30, 2015, the group announced on its website that it would discontinue operations immediately.[12] Shortly before this, the chief public scientist at Coca-Cola announced her retirement.[13] Coca-Cola did not replace the position.

On August 2nd, 2016, it was announced Gregory Hand would be forced out as the Founding Dean of the West Virginia University School of Public Health.[14]

As of March 2020, a simplified German-language version of the website is up.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^ "Front groups and 'astroturfing'". Choice. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets". New York Times. August 9, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Nutrition experts alarmed by nonprofit downplaying role of junk food in obesity". The Guardian. August 11, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  6. ^ ""Global Energy Balance Network" is Dead: "Exercise is Medicine," You're Next". THE RUSSELLS. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  7. ^ "For the Record". American College of Sports Medicine. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  8. ^ O'Connor, Anahad. "Coke's Chief Scientist, Who Orchestrated Obesity Research, Is Leaving". Well. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  9. ^ "We don't need to drink less soda, according to research funded by Coca-Cola". Washington Post. August 11, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  10. ^ "Why Coca-Cola's Funding of Obesity Research Crossed the Line". HealthLine. August 11, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  11. ^ "Samsung, Ikea, Coca-Cola, NAB and Kleenex head list of Choice Shonky Award winners for 2015". Sydney Morning Herald. October 7, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  12. ^ "Anti-obesity group funded by Coke disbanding". CBS News/AP. December 1, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  13. ^ O'Connor, Anahad. "Coke's Chief Scientist, Who Orchestrated Obesity Research, Is Leaving". Well. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  14. ^ "Gregory Hand Forced Out As Dean of West Virginia School of Public Health Amid Controversy Over Coca-Cola Funding - Corporate Crime Reporter". Corporate Crime Reporter. 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  15. ^ "Global Balance Network". Global Balance Network. Retrieved 30 March 2020.

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