Back in September, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey made some terrible statements about Americans and food. Buried deep within his nonsense, there were a handful of okay points, about Americans needing access to fresh, healthy food, and how the abundance of junk food is a massive problem. But he surrounded those arguments with a lot of bullsh-t. He barely broached the issue of food deserts and price in determining how specifically low-income people make food choices. He basically argued that people decide on their own to eat junk food, get fat and get sick, that it’s all down to personal choice. Imagine saying that in the middle of a f–king pandemic. Well, imagine saying that all healthcare should be down to people “not needing healthcare.” For real.
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey says the key to keeping people healthy in the United States is for people to eat better and live healthier lives.
“I mean, honestly, we talk about health care. The best solution is not to need health care,” Mackey told Freakonomics Radio host Stephen Dubner in an episode released on Nov. 4.
“The best solution is to change the way people eat, the way they live, the lifestyle, and diet,” Mackey says. “There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be healthy and have a longer health span. A bunch of drugs is not going to solve the problem.”
Americans are not taking as good care of their own bodies as they ought to be, Mackey says: “71% of Americans are overweight and 42.5% are obese. Clearly, we’re making bad choices in the way we eat,” he says. “It’s not a sustainable path. And so, I’m calling it out.”
It’s not the first time Mackey has called for better lifestyles as a solution to expensive health care. In 2009, he penned a piece for the Wall Street Journal along the same ilk, “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare,” in which he advocated for less government control of health care in the United States. “This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health,” Mackey wrote. “We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health.”
I honestly don’t understand this offensively narrow thought process at all. When he meets someone with cancer, is John Mackey thinking “well, they brought that on themselves”? When someone has broken bones from a car accident, does he think “well, it never would have happened if they had a better diet?” I’m all for self-sufficiency and being responsible for your own life choices. But there’s more happening than that! Genetics play a huge part, environment plays a huge part, education plays a huge part and again, we’re in the middle of a damn pandemic!! Are you really going to say to Grandma that it’s too bad she has coronavirus, she should have exercised more and eaten fewer processed foods? Jesus. That’s not how healthcare should work.
Photos courtesy of Getty.