So, is it much worse for you than other types of fat? While I wouldn't advise spreading it on your toast for breakfast every morning, it is a very versatile ingredient. It doesn't smoke much when cooking and lard's incomparable when making homemade pastry, adding a light, buttery flakiness that you just wouldn't get with anything else. With respect to it's health 'benefits', lard has 20% less saturated fat (gram for gram) than butter, is higher in mono-unsaturated fats (linked to lowering cholesterol) and one's of nature's best sources of Vitamin D according to a recent article on the Guardian website.
The Italians are a fan and there's even an annual festival in Colonnata (just north of Pisa) celebrating all things lardy.
So, the next time you see a recipe involving lard, don't go and substitute it with something else...as long as you're not entertaining any vegetarians.