Physicians Committee Billboard Fries Baseball Baconfest
The Physicians Committee recently placed an eye-catching billboard in Allentown, Pa., calling on the city’s minor league baseball team to stop glorifying bacon, which is linked to colorectal cancer and other health problems. During the 2014 season, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are branding their hats and pants with strips of bacon, selling bacon scratch-and-sniff T-shirts, and offering free bacon crumbles at concessions stands throughout the ballpark.
“Keep Kids Safe: Ban Bacon from Ballparks,” reads the billboard, which also urges fans to visit BaconMayCauseCancer.org to read more about the dangers of bacon. IronPigs fans and motorists traveling toward the ballpark encountered the billboard on a high-traffic road for one month beginning in May.
The billboard is part of a larger campaign to encourage healthful habits in Allentown. In addition to the billboard and a letter to the IronPigs’ owners, the Physicians Committee sent a letter to Allentown’s mayor. The letter alerts him to the dangers of bacon and cites a new study finding that compared with those who eat little or no meat, people who consume diets heavy in meat have a 74 percent greater risk of death, a link as strong as the one between smoking and death.
“The team would never pass out free cartons of cigarettes to the children of the Lehigh Valley, yet they are providing open access to bacon crumbles and turning a family-friendly event into a public health crisis,” Cameron Wells, M.P.H., R.D., staff dietitian for the Physicians Committee, wrote to the mayor. The letter includes resources to help the mayor keep his city healthy.
The Physicians Committee also sponsored two Lehigh Valley little league teams and named them the Dragon Fruit Dragons and the Flying Fruit to prove that baseball can be fun, even without the processed meat.