Salad chain CEO draws backlash over comments about COVID-19 pandemic and obesity

CLOSE

COVID-19 cases have spiked among children especially those under 12 who are unvaccinated. Here’s how to protect them.

USA TODAY

Jonathan Neman, co-founder and CEO of Sweetgreen, a popular salad chain, faced backlash on social media this week after posting that “no vaccine nor mask will save us” and connecting individuals who are obese and overweight with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Neman on Wednesday, in a since-deleted LinkedIn post, wrote, “COVID is here to stay for the foreseeable future. We cannot run away from it and no vaccine nor mask will save us,” Vice reported. However, he noted that he is vaccinated and encourages others to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“78% of hospitalizations due to COVID are obese and overweight people,” Neman said in the LinkedIn post. “Is there an underlying problem that perhaps we have not given enough attention to? Is there another way to think about how we tackle ‘healthcare’ by addressing the root cause?”

Pandemic: COVID vaccine eligibility brings feelings of ‘shame,’ ‘guilt’ to some who meet BMI requirement

‘Nothing in this world is 100%’: Those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can be infected, but serious illness is rare

The statistic appeared to be from an article published in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to CNBC.

“We clearly have no problem with government overreach on how we live our lives all in the name of ‘health,’ however we are creating more problems than we are solving,” Neman wrote in the post.

“What if we made the food that is making us sick illegal? What if we taxed processed food and refined sugar to pay for the impact of the pandemic? What if we incentivized health?” he added.

Health officials have urged all eligible individuals to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The inoculations available in the U.S. are effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19.

A CDC study released last month showed that unvaccinated people in Los Angeles were more than 29 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people.

People with certain conditions or diseases can be more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Those conditions include being overweight or obese, defined by body mass index.

Journalists and others on social media criticized Neman’s argument on Wednesday, accusing him of shaming overweight and obese people regardless of their vaccination status. Others called the comments out-of-touch with food that is accessible for low-income individuals and families.

“What if we made the food that is making us sick illegal? What if we taxed processed food and refined sugar to pay for the impact of the pandemic? What if we incentivized health?”

YES what if the food poor/working class people buy was just as expensive as a Sweetgreen salad??? https://t.co/ovmLragVmZ

— Clyde McGrady (@CAMcGrady)

September 1, 2021

Please do not put your faith in salads to control the pandemic.

— Daniel Summers, MD (@WFKARS)

September 1, 2021

Salads are actually much less effective than vaccines against covid https://t.co/A6d9oXtNsH

— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait)

September 1, 2021

injected myself with the sweetgreen vaccine and i– pic.twitter.com/q2jINKvSoh

— David Mack (@davidmackau)

September 1, 2021

“The government should coerce people to buy salad” is a hell of a convenient belief for a Salad Millionaire https://t.co/x0hJ97vVkp

— Amanda Mull (@amandamull)

September 1, 2021

USA TODAY has reached out to Sweetgreen for comment.

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/09/01/ceo-draws-backlash-over-obesity-covid-comments/5689506001/

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

8 Financial Tips For Young Adults

By Aysia Morton May 20, 2022 / 11:13 AM Financial realities might be a tidal wave when you’re a young adult. You’re given new duties, such as how much money you need to spend, save, or invest. It might be frustrating and difficult to understand. Even searching the internet for financial help can be daunting.

Read More »

After George Floyd’s murder, Wall Street promised billions of dollars to help Black Americans. 2 years later, here’s where that money went and how it’s being used.

As Dominik Mjartan approached JPMorgan’s towering global headquarters on New York City’s Park Avenue on a Friday afternoon in September, he couldn’t help but feel skeptical. Mjartan, the CEO of Optus Bank, a South Carolina lender with $350 million assets under management, was there to meet Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan. The meeting was

Read More »

International 7-Day News Agenda

Text size Please note that all times are in GMT. Major events are listed under ‘Highlights’. For full details of our coverage of top stories, please see our regularly updated News Advisory. (+) : Event added in the last 24 hours. (*) : Event updated in the last 24 hours. UNITED STATES – Covid test

Read More »

8 Financial Tips For Young Adults

By Aysia Morton May 20, 2022 / 11:13 AM Financial realities might be a tidal wave when you’re a young adult. You’re given new duties, such as how much money you need to spend, save, or invest. It might be frustrating and difficult to understand. Even searching the internet for financial help can be daunting.

Read More »

After George Floyd’s murder, Wall Street promised billions of dollars to help Black Americans. 2 years later, here’s where that money went and how it’s being used.

As Dominik Mjartan approached JPMorgan’s towering global headquarters on New York City’s Park Avenue on a Friday afternoon in September, he couldn’t help but feel skeptical. Mjartan, the CEO of Optus Bank, a South Carolina lender with $350 million assets under management, was there to meet Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan. The meeting was

Read More »

International 7-Day News Agenda

Text size Please note that all times are in GMT. Major events are listed under ‘Highlights’. For full details of our coverage of top stories, please see our regularly updated News Advisory. (+) : Event added in the last 24 hours. (*) : Event updated in the last 24 hours. UNITED STATES – Covid test

Read More »
Scroll to Top