Former Georgia health commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald was recently named the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the Trump administration. Almost immediately, critics raised concerns about the 71-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist’s history. During Fitzgerald’s tenure as Georgia health commissioner, she had the Herculean task of combatting the state’s child obesity rates. To her credit, Fitzgerald succeeded in bringing the state down from second to seventeenth in child obesity. To do so, however, Fitzgerald formed a less-than-wholesome alliance with Coca-Cola, a company many would argue is, in part, responsible for the United States’ obesity epidemic.
Fitzerald’s actions do make sense, to some degree. After all, not only was combatting the child obesity rate a daunting challenge: there was also the question of sourcing money to do so. Fitzgerald helmed a program called Power Up for 30, which encouraged schools to give children 30 more minutes of exercise every day, and was almost entirely paid for by Coca-Cola.