Doctors Offer Irving $75,000 to Post Obesity Cartoon instead of Promoting Kraft Cheese during Texas Stadium Implosion
PCRM Says Cheese Maker Aims to Use Spectacle to Market High-Fat Products to Children
WASHINGTON—The eye-catching implosion of Texas Stadium should not be used to market high-fat cheese products to children in the midst of an obesity epidemic, says a doctors group that has offered the city of Irving $75,000 if it will drop Kraft Foods as the sponsor of the stadium’s destruction and, instead, hang a cartoon banner highlighting the problem of obesity.
In a letter to Mayor Herbert A. Gears, Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says the city should publicize the dangers of obesity by draping the stadium with a banner that says, “Cheese really blows you up” and features an illustration of an obese man gorging on cheese.
“Kraft produces exactly the kind of commercial products that are fueling the obesity epidemic,” Dr. Barnard writes in his letter to Mayor Gears. “They are the kinds of fatty, cholesterol-laden products that expand waistlines and contribute to heart disease.”
The stadium is due for demolition April 11. Kraft, which reached a deal with the city to sponsor the implosion, plans to use the event, which it has dubbed the “Cheddar Explosion,” to market a new macaroni-and-cheese product.
One in three children in Texas is now overweight and the problem is particularly acute among Hispanic and African-American children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three children born in the United States will develop diabetes at some point in his or her life.
Kraft’s flagship item, Velveeta, is over 60 percent fat, and just one ounce contains 25 milligrams of artery-clogging cholesterol. Research shows that dairy products like cheese may also play an important role in raising cancer risk. “It will not take long for Kraft’s payments to the city to be swallowed up by the health conditions to which its products contribute,” Dr. Barnard writes.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.