Grim Reaper Takes on Cheese: Billboard Warns Packers Fans of Obesity Risk
“Warning: Cheese Can Sack Your Health.” PCRM’s new billboard near Lambeau Field in Wisconsin features the Grim Reaper warning football fans that eating cheese can make them fat and damage their health.
Foods served at Lambeau Field’s eateries are typically loaded with cheese and other high-fat dairy products. Offerings include Hall of Fame Curds, which are deep-fried Wisconsin cheese curds; Cheesehead Beer Cheese Soup, made with cheddar cheese, beer, and then topped with more cheese; and nachos piled with cheddar cheese and sour cream. Americans today eat three times as much cheese as they did in 1970—almost 33 pounds per person in a single year.
“Our greatest concern is for children who are fed cheese products by their well-meaning parents,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “Cheese is loaded with fat, cholesterol, sodium—and calories. It ought to come with a warning label so consumers understand the health risk.”
Cheese is the No. 1 source of saturated (“bad”) fat in the American diet. Cheddar cheese is 75 percent fat (by calories), and high in sodium. A single ounce of cheese curds, about a 1-inch cube, contains 9 grams of fat and 30 milligrams of cholesterol. A typical serving of nachos with cheese, beans, ground beef, and peppers gets half its calories from fat, and contains 1,800 milligrams of sodium—almost as much sodium as most Americans should consume in an entire day.
One-third of children and half of adults in Wisconsin are already either overweight or obese, according to the state’s Department of Health Services. Obesity rates in the state have doubled since 1990, and obesity-related medical expenses for the state are estimated at $1.5 billion annually.
European researchers have found that eating a small amount of cheese daily, about the size of a small candy bar, increases the risk of bladder cancer by 50 percent. Dairy consumption has also been linked to prostate cancer.
To learn more about the danger of cheese and other dairy products, visit PCRM.org/Health.