WASHINGTON—A huge billboard near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway warns NASCAR Sprint Cup fans that chowing down on hot dogs could seriously damage their health. The billboard is sponsored by the Cancer Project of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Located at 3612 W. 16th St., the billboard features an image of hot dogs sticking out of a cigarette pack emblazoned with the skull and crossbones. It reads: “Warning: Hot dogs can wreck your health,” and directs race fans to www.CancerProject.org. (Download Billboard JPG or High-Resolution PDF or High-Resolution JPG.)
Last year, at the Indianapolis 500 races, concession stands at the speedway served more than 1.1 million hot dogs. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, just one 50-gram serving of processed meat (about the amount in one hot dog) consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent.
“A hot dog a day could send you to an early grave,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “Processed meats like hot dogs can increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and various types of cancer. Like cigarettes, hot dogs should come with a warning label that helps racing fans and other consumers understand the health risk.”
Every year, about 143,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and approximately 53,000 die of it.
Studies also show a strong link between other types of cancer and processed meats. An NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study found that processed red meat was associated with a 10 percent increased risk of prostate cancer with every 10 grams of increased intake. A study in Taiwan showed that consumption of cured and smoked meat can increase children’s risk for leukemia. A study in Australia found that women’s risk for ovarian cancer increased as a result of eating processed meats.
A review in the journal Diabetologia found that those who regularly eat processed meats increase their risk for diabetes by 41 percent.
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.