The CEO of Whole Foods Market, John Mackey, is in hot water after saying that the United States is experiencing higher COVID-19 related deaths because Americans are fatter than people in other countries.
On Thursday, the 67-year-old, who co-founded the all-organic supermarket in 1980 before selling it to Amazon in 2017, told The New York Times that this country has “moved in the wrong direction” when it comes to the way our eating habits have evolved over the last 50 years.
“Statistically, we definitely moved in the wrong direction. The whole world is getting fat, it’s just that Americans are at the leading edge of that. We’re getting fat, and we’re getting sicker,” Mackey explained.
Mackey believes that poor diets, which oftentimes result in diabetes and heart disease, have resulted in the country being hit the hardest by the pandemic.
“There’s a very high correlation between obesity and COVID deaths. And one of the reasons the United States has had more of a problem with COVID is simply that the comorbidities like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, they’re just higher in the US.”
The United States recently surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths, and 7million confirmed cases of the virus.
While health experts have always maintained that people suffering from pre-existing health conditions are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications, the high death rate can also be attributed to the Trump administration’s lack of urgency in the early stages of the pandemic.
Mackey does not believe that the obesity crisis in America results from lack of access, but more so a lack of education on healthier food options available.
“I don’t think there’s an access problem. I think there’s a market demand problem. People have got to become wiser about their food choices. And if people want different foods, the market will provide it.” He went on to add, “We have not done a good job of educating people about what healthy food is.”
The organic food enthusiast also stated that many people are not aware that they are addicted to food.
“It’s less about access and more about people making poor choices, mostly due to ignorance. It’s like being an alcoholic. People are just not conscious of the fact that they have food addictions and need to do anything about it.”