Lizzo wants you to know she gained weight and still feels “good as h-ll.” Thank goodness she doesn’t have COVID.
On Sunday, Jan. 2, the body-positivity singer kicked off the new year with a video on Instagram featuring herself dancing in a one-piece captioned, “I gained weight.”
“I look TF GOODT [sic],” she added.
The post was met with the same online excitement routine among the singer’s fans celebrating obesity despite its status as a top comorbidity for COVID-19.
“Ugh this made me feel better, I love you!” one user wrote.
“You are perfect just the way you are,” wrote another with a heart emoji.
The New York fashion publication Paper Magazine similarly gave Lizzo praise, highlighting “a flood of proposals and well-deserved compliments.”
Lizzo’s promotion of obesity, however, is tragic for the millions she serves.
On Friday, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky conceded three-quarters of deaths counted as COVID fatalities have occurred in those with at least four comorbidities. Data highlighted early on COVID-19’s severity among individuals overweight or obese.
Beyond elevated risk for chronic disease leading to premature death such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, which themselves spike the probability of severe outcomes from COVID-19, obesity is a primary culprit in dangerous COVID cases.
In August 2020, Science Magazine published a study outlining the escalated risk associated with excess weight and COVID-19. Obese patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus were 113 percent more likely to be hospitalized, 74 percent more likely to end up in intensive care units (ICU), and 48 percent more likely to die. In other words, confronting coronavirus means confronting the underlying pandemic that is obesity, especially in an era of endless variants. America, however, is losing the fight that it refuses to acknowledge and that its cultural rulers continue to celebrate.
According to the latest data from the CDC, more than 42 percent of Americans were considered medically “obese” in 2017-2018, marking a 31 percent spike since 1999-2000. More than 70 percent of adults 20 years old and older were overweight.
Worse, Americans have gained weight since in an upward trend exacerbated by lockdowns in which politicians shut down gyms and demanded residents stay home. According to a March survey from the American Psychological Association, 42 percent of Americans put on unwanted weight, adding 29 pounds on average. The CDC released data in the same month showing nearly 80 percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight or obese.
Cultural currents glorifying obesity under the guise of body positivity have played no small part in the American acceleration of weight gain. A year ago, the woman’s magazine Cosmopolitan pitched obesity as acceptable to young girls at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in terms of death.
Cultural icons have normalized the deadly disease that disproportionately impacts African-Americans and the working class, with Lizzo serving as the movement’s mascot. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic black adults “had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity” with 50 percent, or half, considered medically obese.
Lizzo might feel good. Her fans might even claim the same. But on screen is a pop star at severely higher risk of premature death than she would be at a healthy weight. She won’t feel good if she’s dead by 50, and neither will her fans.