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Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Newman deleted a LinkedIn post linking obesity to COVID deaths and suggested taxing and banning junk food after being labeled “fat phobic.”
Newman, co-founder and CEO of the popular salad restaurant chain Sweetgreen, faced backlash over his statement posted on LinkedIn Tuesday, where he makes a direct connection to the country’s obesity epidemic and the COVID pandemic.
“78% of COVID hospitalizations are obese and overweight people,” he posted. ‘Is there an underlying problem that we may not have paid enough attention to? Is there another way to think about how we approach ‘healthcare’ by tackling the root cause? ‘
Sweetgreen has over 100 locations across the country and offers customers a wide variety of salads and bowls, with prices ranging from $9.75 to $10.95
Newman, who revealed that he was vaccinated and supports other people’s right to get vaccinated, goes on to write that COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future and that the best way to adapt to a world with COVID is not to try to prevent infection, but “focus on health in general”.
He pointed out how quickly the mask and vaccine mandates have been implemented, but that there are no so-called ‘health mandates’.
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‘What if we focus on the ROOT CAUSE and use this pandemic as a catalyst to create a healthier future? ‘she asked at his booth. “We clearly have no problem with the government overreaching how we live our lives in the name of ‘health’, yet we are creating more problems than we are solving.”
He goes on to suggest taxing and even banning junk food.
“What if we make food that makes us ill illegal?” he continued. ‘What if we taxed processed foods and refined sugar to pay for the impact of the pandemic? What if we encouraged health? Repairing our food system could save us $ 2 trillion a year in direct costs ($ 1 trillion in healthcare, $ 1 trillion in environmental impact). OUR TIME IS NOW ‘
Newman’s controversial claim may come from a March 2021 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found a correlation between a high body mass index and the severity of COVID-19.
The CDC has previously listed obesity as a medical condition that can increase the likelihood of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.
“The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases dramatically with a high BMI,” the CDC warned.
But after Vice.com reported on the post, it began to receive negative attention, with one commenter calling it ‘fat-phobic’, prompting the CEO to remove it.
“Wow, this is incredibly fat-phobic,” one person commented. “Have you considered how our healthcare system consistently neglected people who are considered to be in these groups?”
Before deleting the post, Newman acknowledged the comment and said it had ‘some good points’ and defended the motivation behind the post, saying that’ it was meant to be an idea starter on how we might think about health differently ( rather than just disease) and tackling the causes that are killing us beyond what’s in the news every day (COVID), ” Business Insider reported.
Newman also faced criticism for the post on Twitter, where some people said the comments were so offensive that they did not return to the restaurant.
‘Sweetgreen Hi – I just want to let you know that the comments his CEO made on LinkedIn about the pandemic and obesity were ignorant and damaging. I’m not a (very regular) customer anymore, ‘one person tweeted.
Another person said Newman’s comments were ‘reckless’:’ Man, I had just identified Sweetgreens as one of the few healthy alternatives in Oakland. Now his CEO drops reckless prose regarding Covid as an attempt, perhaps, obvious to increase revenue. He needs to rephrase asap: “Go and change your eating habits.”
Someone else tweeted that their comments were part of a ‘body shame marketing campaign’: ‘The CEO of sweetgreens tried to say that salads will save us from covid because people are too obese and as brilliant as their marketing campaign of Body shame comes out only about 30% of hospitalizations are related to obesity, so it appears that many people would still die. ”
Co-founded by in 2007, Sweetgreen currently has more than 100 locations nationwide and offers customers a wide variety of salads and bowls, with prices ranging from $ 9.75 to $ 10.95.
Newman’s now-deleted post comes as COVID cases continue to rise, fueled by the highly communicable delta variant.
The growth of Covid cases in the United States has slowed in the past two weeks, with new positive tests only increasing by 15 percent in the past two weeks.
Cases increased 67 percent from Aug. 2 to Aug. 16, from 85,000 a day to 142,000 a day, and just 15 percent, 139,000 a day to 160,000 a day from Aug. 17 to 31.
Jonathan Newman Quicks and Facts
- Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Newman faced backlash for a post where he makes a direct connection to the country’s obesity epidemic and the COVID pandemic
- Newman said that COVID is here to stay for the foreseeable future and that the best way to adapt is not to try to prevent infection but ‘focus on overall health’
- After Vice.com reported on the LinkedIn post, it began to get negative attention, with one commenter calling it ‘fat-phobic’ leading the CEO to delete it
- Before deleting the post, Newman acknowledged the comment and said it made ‘some good points,’ and said the post ‘was meant to be a thought-starter’
- The CDC has previously listed obesity as a medical condition can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19