MILWAUKEE—“Run From Sausage to Fight Colorectal Cancer,” says a billboard the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has placed near American Family Field, home to the Milwaukee Brewers’ Famous Racing Sausages. Sausage is a processed meat that increases the risk of colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. The doctors group also wrote to Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and urged him to add a healthful carrot dog to the lineup of racing sausages.
The billboard, which will be up until Oct. 13, is 1,000 feet south of the stadium on Brewers Boulevard.
The World Health Organization has determined that consuming processed meat, such as sausage, increases the risk of colorectal cancer and has classified it as “carcinogenic to humans.” Just 50 grams—about one sausage or hot dog—consumed daily increases colorectal cancer risk by 18%. The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research say that “the evidence on processed meat and cancer is clear-cut.”
From 2009-2013, an annual average of 2,570 Wisconsin residents were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, according to the latest information posted on Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ website. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Wisconsin for males and females combined.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that screening for colorectal cancer begin at age 45 instead of 50, noting that in the United States, “Incidence of colorectal cancer (specifically adenocarcinoma) in adults aged 40 to 49 years has increased by almost 15% from 2000-2002 to 2014-2016.”
The Milwaukee Brewers’ Famous Racing Sausages include Brat a.k.a Bratwurst, Polish Sausage, Italian Sausage, Hot Dog, and Chorizo.
“At a time when colorectal cancer rates are rising among younger Americans, processed meats like sausage should be seen as risky,” wrote Physicians Committee dietitian Maggie Neola, RD, LD, in a letter to Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. “Delicious, healthful plant-based alternatives should be encouraged instead.”
Fiber, which is found only in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, has been linked to a reduced risk for colorectal cancer. One study of nearly 200,000 people found a nearly 40% lower risk for colorectal cancer in men who ate more than 35 grams of fiber per day, compared with those who ate roughly 13 grams per day.
Research shows that eating 50 grams of processed meat daily also increases the risk of prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and overall cancer mortality. Sausages and other processed meat are also linked to cardiovascular disease and death, according to a recent study that found people eating more than 150 grams of processed meat per week increased their risk of heart disease and death by 46% and 51%, respectively, when compared to those who did not eat processed meat.
Eating a hot dog takes away 36 minutes of healthy life (good-quality and disease-free life) according to a recent study that evaluated more than 5,800 foods and ranked them by their nutritional disease burden.
“I urge you to add a healthful plant-based alternative, such as Carrot Dog, to the Milwaukee Brewers’ Famous Racing Sausages,” added Neola in the letter to Attanasio. “Carrot Dog will race with excellence, amplifying the fact that a plant-based diet is highly beneficial for athletes and warn spectators about the dangers of her processed meat competitors.”
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.