Iowa billboard warns of bacon risks

Nov. 8, 2011 at 1:55 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- A billboard placed near the National Pork Board headquarters in Des Moines highlights the health risks of processed meat.

The billboard, sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to coincide with the National Pork Board meeting Nov. 14, features an image of bacon strips sticking out of a cigarette pack. It reads: "Warning: Bacon Can Cause Rectal Cancer."

The Iowa House this year declared Feb. 26 Bacon Day, calling bacon "nature's perfect food."

"Pigging out on bacon can really hurt your health," Susan Levin, nutrition education director for the Washington doctors group, said Tuesday in a statement. "Far from being a 'perfect food,' bacon is high in fat, cholesterol and sodium. It can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and various types of cancer. Like cigarettes, bacon should come with a warning label that helps Iowa residents understand the health risk."

The group said Iowa has one of the highest rates of colorectal cancer deaths in the country.

The American Institute for Cancer Research said eating two strips of bacon a day can increase a person's risk for colorectal cancer by 21 percent. The PRCM said processed red meat has also been linked in studies with an increased risk of prostate cancer, childhood leukemia, diabetes and ovarian cancer.

The non-profit physicians group this summer put up a similar billboard near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to warn NASCAR Sprint Cup fans of the dangers of hotdogs.

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