TV Stations Balk at Ad Linking Fatty Fast Food to Heart Disease
DETROIT—Detroit TV stations have turned down a provocative commercial linking McDonald’s high-fat fare with heart disease. The nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) produced the ad, which shows a deceased man on a gurney still clutching a cheeseburger, to draw attention to Detroit’s high rates of heart disease deaths and high density of fast-food restaurants. PCRM has also written to Mayor Dave Bing asking him to impose a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in the city.
The ad, which ends with the words “I was lovin’ it”—a play on the McDonald’s slogan—has already aired in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and has been viewed more than 1.4 million times on YouTube.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 3,400 Detroiters die of heart disease each year, and the city has the fourth highest rate of heart disease deaths of all U.S. cities. A PCRM survey shows that Detroit has more McDonald’s, Burger King, or KFC locations per square mile than four other cities with similar population sizes.
McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast-food chain, serves a long list of high-fat, high-cholesterol items and offers almost no healthful choices, according to an analysis by PCRM dietitians. Detroit—which is 138 square miles—has 73 fast-food restaurants, including 32 McDonald’s outlets.
“Detroiters’ addiction to Big Macs and other high-fat fast food is literally breaking their hearts,” says PCRM’s nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “Busy families and children who are eating meaty, cheesy burgers and chicken nuggets pay the price in obesity, heart disease, and hypertension. A moratorium on new fast-food restaurants would give the city time to recoup its health.”
People who consume fast food are at a higher risk of obesity, a key risk factor for heart disease, according to studies, including one from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Regular consumption of high-fat, high-cholesterol foods increases the risk of heart disease, and studies find that even a single fatty meal can raise blood pressure, stiffen major arteries, and cause the heart to beat harder.
Journalists: To speak with Susan Levin, please contact Vaishali Honawar at 202-527-7339 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.