Jamie Lopez, the founder of a Las Vegas salon for plus-size women and a model for the “body positivity” movement, died last weekend at age 37.
Lopez, according to TMZ on Monday, was hospitalized for heart complications. Her salon, Babydoll Beauty Couture, which became the center of a reality television show on WE tv, published a statement on Instagram announcing her death.
“We ask, on behalf of the Babydoll family, that you allow us time to process this tremendous loss,” the statement read. “Please keep our Babydoll family & team lifted in your hearts and prayers.”
Her show, “Super Sized Salon,” which launched this summer, only lasted a single season before the main star’s death.
At her heaviest, Lopez weighed 846 pounds and designed her company while confined to bed. She lost 400 pounds to turn her dream into reality.
But for Lopez, a social media influencer who capitalized on the pro-fat movement disguised as “body positivity,” her lifestyle changes tragically came too late.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the average life expectancy for U.S. women born in 1985 is around 80 years old. At 37, Lopez had a lot of life to live before it was cut in half.
Not much is public about Lopez’s death beyond “heart complications,” but the connection between obesity and heart problems is well established, contrary to the activist mantra of “healthy at every size.” Nor is heart disease the only danger that obesity threatens its victims with. Individuals with obesity, which includes more than 40 percent of U.S. adults, are at higher risk of cancers, diabetes, strokes, breathing problems, high cholesterol, and mental illness, to name a few of the comorbidities that often plague the obese.
Though few details are known, it’s far from inconceivable that more than anything else, Lopez died of complications from obesity, marking another tragedy for “body positivity.”
Nearly 77 percent of the adult U.S. population is considered, at minimum, overweight. In other words, Americans at a metabolically healthy weight are in the minority. As American weight gain accelerates, so too will the popularity of the movement to normalize, and even glorify, sedentary lifestyles run on processed foods.
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This new normal, however, carries with it the deadly reality that millions of lives are guaranteed to be cut tragically short.