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Karin Lillis

Karin Lillis is managing editor of EndoNurse magazine and a contributing writer for Infection Control Today. She has more than 20 years of experience in health, news and business publishing-from community-based daily newspapers to clinical nursing and other magazines. She graduated from DeSales University with a degree in English/Communications.

Sausage Industry Denounces 'Butt Cancer' Ad


CHICAGO—A Chicago billboard regarding colorectal health is causing quite a stir. The billboard message says that people shouldn't eat hot dogs, claiming that hot dogs cause "butt cancer."

True or not, it's kind of funny. Unless you're part of the sausage industry, or really, really into hot dogs.

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, which yes, does exist, called the ad outrageous and inflammatory.

The billboard is planned for several major cities, and is sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The physician group urges healthy diets, and in this particular case is claiming that hot dogs are a contributor to colon cancer.

Research leaves little doubt that meat and processed foods, let alone processed meat, increase cancer risk. However, the idea that there are "bad" foods and "good" foods is something I have a hard time with, even in the case of hot dogs. I've been a vegetarian for 18 years, so obviously I don't recommend hot dogs, but "everything in moderation" seems to be a good rule. Several studies prove that having unhealthy foods in tiny amounts isn't a problem. Indeed, if one exercises, they can be more fit splurging on small amounts of junk every once in a while, than if they only eat healthy food, but eat huge amounts of it, and don't exercise.

So, while I appreciate that the PCRM is looking out for people's health, and that the group is educating people about the fact that in general, hot dogs aren't a healthy food, the group might serve us better by recommending that we eat in moderation, and limit junk foods.

The idea that some food is "good" and some is "bad" isn't helping Americans. We're paying too much attention to that theory instead of monitoring portion control, calorie levels, and activity. And as a result, our nation is too heavy, and suffers from far more colorectal cancer than necessary.

The PCRM knows that, and is trying to do something about it. Maybe tweaking the message would help.

To read more about the Chicago billboard, click here.


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