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NEWS RELEASE January 7, 2004

Graphic New TV Ad Warns Against Dangers of Fatty Foods

Doctors Launch Campaign in D.C., Ad Soon to Debut in States with Highest Mortality from Coronary Heart Disease

WASHINGTON—A graphic new TV ad depicting the dangers of high-fat, high-cholesterol food will debut next week in D.C. “Parallels” alternates images of a heavy, middle-aged man gorging on greasy chicken and other unhealthy foods with actual footage of a surgeon removing fatty deposits from a patient's artery. The voiceover begins, “Fat and cholesterol. They could ruin your appetite … forever” and ends with “Tonight, make it vegetarian.”

Produced by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), the ad is part of a major educational campaign to combat unhealthy eating trends that have been sweeping the nation. “Parallels” will premiere on January 12 on CNN and roll out later this winter in New York, Missouri, and other states with high rates of mortality from heart disease.

“The growing popularity of unhealthy fad diets is bad news, except perhaps for undertakers or companies selling cholesterol-lowering drugs,” says Jennifer Keller, R.D., nutrition projects coordinator. “If Americans don't put down their steak knives, they'll soon find themselves going under the surgeons' blades, and in record numbers.”

Studies show that diets high in fatty, cholesterol-laden animal products like meat, chicken, eggs, and pork dramatically increase one's risk of coronary heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, coronary heart disease is still the number-one killer of both men and women in the United States. Research shows that a low-fat vegetarian diet reverses heart disease in 82 percent of study participants, according to a 1998 JAMA study by Dean Ornish, M.D., of the University of California at San Francisco.

PCRM's “Parallels” is the second in a series. The first, “SafeDiets,” deals with the dangers of high-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets; the third—focused on the link between erectile dysfunction and high-fat diets—is due out in February.

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.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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