Wokeness is smothering a truth that kills many
By Bill Connor
On a recent NPR Podcast (“Fat Phobia and its racist past and present”) listeners were served up more taxpayer-funded “woke” nonsense. Host Maddie Sofia said, “Today on the show, we go all the way back to the transatlantic slave trade to understand the racial origins of fat phobia, and how Black people are still dealing with the consequences today.”
If the problem was solely the ridiculous attempts to connect alleged “fat phobia” to the slave trade, this would be more a frustration. In this case, the rising woke argument of dieting being racist smothers a truth that’s killing people during the current COVID epidemic and must stop now. Let me explain: It’s important to understand the crisis of obesity and particularly for the demographic NPR and others are gaslighting.
From the CDC website: “Black adults (49.6 percent) had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by Hispanic adults (44.8 percent), White adults (42.2 percent) and Asian adults (17.4 percent). Adult obesity in the U.S reached 40 percent for the first time in 2017-2018, according to the CDC, increasing from 30.5 percent in 1999-2000.”
Also, according to the CDC, those with obesity are three times more likely to be hospitalized after COVID infection. The CDC claims, “Obesity is linked to impaired immune function. Obesity decreases lung capacity and reserve and can make ventilation more difficult. A study of COVID-19 cases suggests that risks of hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, invasive mechanical ventilation and death are higher with increasing BMI.” We know that the other greatest risk factors are obesity related: high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes.
There is a clear connection between obesity and COVID deaths internationally. Fortune magazine noted on Feb. 7, 2021, that with Japan “no Group of 7 nation has had so few deaths since the pandemic started in earnest.” Japan has by far the oldest population among G7 nations (including the US) at 52, and age is a known risk of hospitalization and mortality with COVID, making Japan even more remarkable. What’s markedly different with Japan is the low rate of obesity, along with a prevalence of physical activity. It is common for Japanese corporations to have group physical training. Other low-obesity demographics, like the peoples of Oceania, show the same.
Beyond the data showing the rising rates of obesity and drastically greater risks of hospitalizations/death with COVID, the government response has greatly exacerbated the obesity problem. Kaia Hubbard of U.S. News and World Report, wrote, “In 2020, 16 states had adult obesity rates at or above 35 percent, up from 12 states the previous year. The changing numbers can partly be tied to the coronavirus pandemic … which created obstacles to physical activity, and heightened stress,” according to the report from the Trust for America’s Health. Since the pandemic began, 42 percent of adults in the U.S. reported gaining an undesired amount of weight — a Harris Poll conducted in February 2021 showed U.S. adults reported gaining an average of 29 pounds.
That Americans have gained an average of 29 pounds from the beginning of the pandemic to September 2021 is the ultimate alarm. It should be the top news story everywhere. Instead, the left continues to bury it and encourage the “obstacles” to losing weight. Democratic blue states and cities have issued draconian shutdown orders against gyms. They have demanded outdoor masks, making physical exercise all but impossible. Progressive mainstream media sources like NPR and Newsweek attempt to squelch any discussion of the problem through cries of “racism” related to dieting and fitness, despite the horrendous effect on populations that have the highest rates of obesity.
The data about the connection between shutdowns/quarantines with preventing COVID spread is mixed at best. From comparing countries that didn’t shut down, like Sweden for example, with nations with the most draconian shutdowns, there seems to have been little benefit to lockdowns in the long term. Unlike what Biden and Dr. Fauci told America in early 2021, the vaccine does not prevent transmission of the virus. The apparent benefit of the vaccine seems to be the lower risk of severe hospitalizations and death. Those numbers are argued among scientists, though no scientist of any repute has challenged the obesity numbers and the connection to hospitalization and death.
It’s time the hard truth prevails and affects our COVID strategy. Many Americans need to lose weight to survive COVID, and they need to know why. Gyms should be opened and highly encouraged. Masks should never be demanded outdoors and particularly while working out. We should be using as much encouragement for fitness and diet as the Biden administration has used for vaccines. Importantly, we need to stop letting “wokeness” continue to kill us by smothering the hard truths that save lives.
Bill Connor is a 1990 Citadel graduate, 30-year Army infantry colonel (ret.) and combat veteran. He is a writer and attorney and lives in the Charleston area.