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KFC-Komen ‘Buckets for the Cure’ campaign raises questions

It doesn’t get much stranger (or more cynical) than this. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has teamed up with KFC (formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken) to launch a “Buckets for the Cure” fund-raising campaign.

It doesn’t get much stranger (or more cynical) than this.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has teamed up with KFC (formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken) to launch a “Buckets for the Cure” fund-raising campaign.

For each $5 bucket (pink!) of fried chicken bought between now and May 23, KFC will donate 50 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The goal is to raise $8.5 million — what the KFC-Komen alliance is calling “the largest single donation to end breast cancer forever.”

Obviously, a laudable goal. Who doesn’t want to “end breast cancer forever”? But do the people at Komen read their own educational materials?

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If so, their teaming up with a fast-food franchise is inexplicable.

For, as the Komen site itself acknowledges, “being overweight increases the risk [of breast cancer] by 30 to 60 percent” in postmenopausal women, possibly because enzymes in fat tissue may produce more estrogen, and  that extra estrogen may increase breast-cancer risk. Conversely, as the Komen site also points out, losing weight is associated with a decreased risk: “One large study found that “women who lost four to 11 pounds after menopause had more than a 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women whose weight did not change.”

It’s hard to lose weight eating fried chicken. I have no idea what’s in a “Bucket for the Cure,” but according to fastfood.com, a single KFC “original recipe” chicken breast has 400 calories and a single “original recipe” chicken thigh has 250.

Not exactly the kind of food that’s going to help you slim down.

I can understand why KFC is eager to be part of a “pink” campaign, particularly when it has  been struggling of late to hold on to its share of the fast-food chicken market.

But I can’t understand why Susan G. Komen for the Cure would team up with KFC, given the confusing health message this sends to women.

As Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, a Canadian family physician (who calls himself “an obesity doc and certifiably cynical realist”) wrote on his blog, Weighty Matters (hat tip: HealthNewsReview):

It would be one thing if KFC simply handed over a cheque to Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the amount of $8.5 million — that’d be incredibly generous and welcome. However it’s quite another thing for Susan G. Komen for the Cure to sell their name to KFC and allow them to use it to encourage the consumption of high calorie, high sodium fast food and the promotion of a lifestyle that increases the risk of not only breast cancer, but a myriad of diet and weight related illnesses. That I call reprehensible.