McDonalds Is No Role Model for Public Health

May 14, 2021 Updated: May 16, 2021

Commentary

If we have learned anything during the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is that obesity is a serious risk factor for people who are diagnosed with COVID. It is in fact, one of the only risks factors that we can control and do something about.

Being of old age is a risk factor, but so far, we can not turn back the biological clock. We can, though, control our diet and exercise and bring our Body Mass Index (BMI) to a healthy range.

So, it was a total shock to me, a nurse, to see that the White House has partnered with McDonalds to encourage people to get the COVID vaccine as part of the Biden administration’s, “We Can Do This” campaign.

Krispy Kreme and Budweiser have offered free donuts and beer as incentives too for those who can show proof of being vaccinated, but as far as I can tell they aren’t partnering with the Biden administration yet. And the Governor DeWine of Ohio is offering $1 million dollars in the form of lotteries to incentivize people in his state to get fully vaccinated, but that’s another article!

America has an obesity problem, largely caused by our horrible diets (eating fast food) and lack of physical exercise. We are a fat and sedentary people who are only getting bigger.

Our statistics on obesity in America are abysmal. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the most recent data shows that 42.5 percent of Americans aged 20 and over are considered obese. That figure jumps to 73.6 percent if you add in overweight with obese.

Globally, here in the United States, we rank 12th when looking at and comparing obesity rates to other countries. These figures are just staggering to me, especially when you think about all the diseases that obesity causes, such as heart disease and diabetes, which we know add additional risks to the COVID-19 patient.

The risk for hospitalization in an obese patient with COVID is tripled and this at-risk population is more likely to die from COVID or take significantly longer to recovery from the COVID virus. All of these risk factors compound the healthcare costs of taking care of an obese Covid patient.

There is also the added concern that obese people will not get the full benefit of the vaccine because they are overweight and in a state of inflammation because of their obesity.

One author puts it this way, “But the effects on the immune system are what concern some researchers the most. Obesity can cause chronic, low-grade inflammation, which is thought to contribute to the increased risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease” and that “studies of vaccines against influenza, hepatitis B and rabies, which have shown reduced responses in those who are obese compared with those who are lean.” Studies have already shown that the influenza vaccine, your typical flu shot, do not work well in those who are obese.

So why on earth would we accept the coupling of McDonalds and the COVID vaccine? In partnering with the Biden administration, McDonald’s will begin advertising on their food packaging and billboard advertisements where people can go to receive their vaccine.

Genna Gent, the U.S. Vice President for global public policy and government relations for McDonald’s said, “We all want to protect ourselves and our loved ones and be together in our communities again. McDonald’s is excited to be doing our part for the people we serve, providing them with simple information that can keep them safe.”

Perhaps the American people would be better served by a Biden administration, “We Can Do This” campaign that gets America back in shape and down to a healthy weight.

Jennifer Lahl is the founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and producer of the documentary films, “Eggsploitation,” “Anonymous Father’s Day,” “Breeders: A Subclass of Women?” “Maggie’s Story,” and “#BigFertility,” which was an official selection in the Silicon Valley International Film Festival. She is back behind the camera, producing a film on the ethics of allowing children to medically and surgically transition.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.