Billboard Encourages Team to Hit a Homerun for Health by Banning Bacon
A hard-hitting billboard has gone up near Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pa., warning baseball fans that bacon can strike them out. Sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine—a nutrition advocacy group of more than 10,000 physicians and health care professionals—the billboard responds to the IronPigs’ bacon-centered rebrand, which offers free bacon to fans.
The billboard reads, “Keep Kids Safe. Ban Bacon from Ballparks,” and portrays bacon sticking out of a cigarette package. The billboard urges Pennsylvanians to learn more by visiting www.BaconMayCauseCancer.org. Located a mile away from the ballpark, the billboard can be seen by fans traveling to Coca-Cola Park and motorists traveling east on Tilghman St. Bridge starting on May 23.
“Research shows that bacon and other processed meat products can be as deadly as smoking,” says Cameron Wells, M.P.H., R.D., staff dietitian for the Physicians Committee. “Baseball recently banned players from using chewing tobacco in front of kids, but offering them free bacon is just as dangerous. It’s turning a family-friendly event into a public health nightmare.”
A recent study found that those who consume meat-heavy diets have a 74 percent greater risk of death from various causes—a link as strong as the one between smoking and death. Researchers have linked bacon and other processed meat products to a host of serious diseases, including colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The World Cancer Research Fund has clearly stated that no quantity of processed meat is safe for human consumption.
Many IronPigs promotions and events, including Education Day, target the Lehigh Valley’s children. In the United States, one in every three children is overweight or obese, and one in every five teens has high cholesterol. “During baseball season, we shield our kids from fastballs with helmets and chest protectors, but we should also be protecting them from the dangerous marketing being thrown their way by organizations like the IronPigs,” says Wells. “Baseball is our national pastime. As a community, we need to step up to the plate for our country’s health by taking bacon out of the ballpark.”
Physicians Committee dietitians have written to the team’s owners, urging them to bench the bacon. The group is also sponsoring two nearby little league teams, who have been given fruit-themed names, proving that sports can be fun and healthy—without the processed meat.
The Physicians Committee has also reached out to the mayor of Allentown, alerting him to the health risks associated with bacon and offering assistance in making health a priority in the Lehigh Valley.
For a copy of the letters, an image of the billboard, or an interview with Ms. Wells, please contact Laura Anderson at 202-686-2210 or LAnderson@PCRM.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.