TV Stations Balk at Ad Linking Fatty Fast Food to Heart Disease
HOUSTON—Houston 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 Houston’s high rates of heart disease deaths and high density of fast-food restaurants.
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.
A PCRM survey shows that Houston has 149 McDonald’s outlets —more than four of the six largest U.S. cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles. Only New York City has more McDonald’s outlets than Houston.
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. Nearly 5624 people in Houston died of heart disease in 2004, according to data from the World Health Organization.
“Houstonians’ 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 health warning is essential.”
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.