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The Walt Disney Company tried to withdraw a nutritional study it funded on meals served at Disney World.
The company asked the authors of the study to not publish it, according to emails obtained by health news site STAT News. Disney was reportedly concerned about its involvement with one of the authors of the study, James Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Services Center.
Hill came under fire last summer when he collaborated with Coca-Cola on research that aimed to redirect the conversation on obesity so that it focused more on exercise and less on diet.
A Disney spokesman told STAT that the company wasn't sure it was wise to publish the study "given the recent issues regarding Dr. Hill." The researcher defended the study. Hill told STAT he was disappointed that "companies like Disney have to worry about negative PR from funding research."
STAT said that the emails it received didn't suggest that Disney influenced the results of the study. However emails did show that the company had the chance to approve a press release.
The study also contained a disclosure that implied Disney had no influence in the study's design, analysis or writing. However sources told STAT that the disclosure is dishonest based on what was discovered in the emails the publication obtained.
Disney and Hill did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.