The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine sure does have a hang-up on cheese. Back in September, the PETA of nutritional health attempted to catch the attention of proud Cheeseheads with anti-cheese billboards strategically placed outside of the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field. This month the activist group has taken to Albany with two new billboards that put the downside to fatty eating on graphic display.
The first billboard displays a man’s prominent gut over Albany’s Route 378, paired with the text “Your abs on cheese.” The second features a woman pinching her leg flesh over the intersection of Route 9 and Route 20, next to the text “Your thighs on cheese.” Why cheese? According to the PCRM, it’s because “cheese is the number-one source of saturated fat in the American diet,” and with its abundance of dairy farms Albany is an easy target for the group.
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In addition to the billboards, PCRM president Neil Barnard MD also wrote a letter to Albany schools asking them to reduce the amount of dairy products served in the city’s schools, in an effort to curb childhood obesity. “Typical cheeses are 70 percent fat,” reads Barnard’s statement. “And the type of fat they hold is mainly saturated fat—the kind that increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Cheese is also loaded with cholesterol and sodium. Americans eat more than 33 pounds of cheese per person per year—three times more than they did in 1970—and our country is more obese than ever.”
Much like PETA, it’s not that PCRM is entirely wrong per se – obesity is certainly problem in the United States, and the prevalence of fatty foods (and our nonchalant attitude toward fatty foods) is undoubtedly making it worse. But can inflammatory billboards and antagonizing acts really change peoples’ behavior? Or do they do more to push otherwise interested parties away? One way or another, it sure does get them talking.