That’s the message a national physicians group has brought to a minor-league ballpark where a Phillies minor-league affiliate not only serves up plenty of pork but revels in bringing home the bacon.
The Washington, D.C.-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine erected a billboard across from Coca-Cola Park, the home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs ballpark in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Monday. The billboard reads: “Keep Bacon Off Your Plate. One serving a day may increase risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.”
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The group, which is comprised of about 12,000 physicians, hopes fans traveling to the park see it as they drive over the Tilghman Street Bridge and guess twice about the pork treats on the menu at the ballpark that hails itself as Bacon, USA.
At Coca-Cola Park there are concession stands including the “Pig Stop,” “Hog Heaven,” “Pork N Chips” and other less pig-themed eateries that offer a wide-range of pork-tastic treats like “Nachos Porker,” “Bacon on a Stick” and the “Porker Sandwich.”
“Consuming just one serving of bacon a day can dramatically increase the risk for colorectal cancer, heart disease, and diabetes,” warned Physicians Committee dietitian Cameron Wells, M.P.H., R.D. “This baseball season, don’t let bacon strike you out.”
The IronPigs, the Phillies Triple-A affiliate that wears hats feature a piece of sizzling bacon during some games, stands by the swine.
"It’s a 'Pork' Race. We are IronPigs, and we are simply hog wild about all the pork offerings here within Bacon, USA," said a statement from IronPigs president & general manager Kurt Landes.
"We are also proud of the usually unreported health benefits provided by bacon -- from the protein, to essential vitamins and minerals such as Choline and Niacin, to even being a mood elevator and lowering stress. Many studies have found that bacon actually increases one’s life expectancy."
The doctor's don't believe what the baseball team is cooking.
“By moving broccoli into the starting lineup, the IronPigs would knock one out of the park for the health of their fans,” says Wells.
So it doesn’t seem the Physicians’ recommendation of replacing bacon with broccoli – all the way down to the mascot – in a hope of lowering Pennsylvania’s Top 20 obesity rate – they also mention that 63 percent of people in the Lehigh Valley struggle with their weight – isn’t going to happen and that’s OK with the IronPigs.
"Ultimately, our goal is to provide choices for our fans’" said Landes. "We strive to make the experience a 'nine-inning vacation,' offering fans a reprieve from everyday life. Fans can indulge if they so choose. If not, we offer plenty of healthy options, too. But, we are not in the habit of dictating to our fans and their families what they should eat. We believe in our fans and their ability to make their own choices at the ballpark."