Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Neman has deleted a LinkedIn post he made Tuesday that suggested that obesity is the "root cause" of health issues, including COVID-19.
"78% of hospitalizations due to COVID are Obese and Overweight people," Neman wrote. "Is there an underlying problem that perhaps we have not given enough attention to?"
The CEO wrote that "no vaccine nor mask will save us" from the virus, although he clarified that he is vaccinated and supports others getting the vaccine. "Our best bet is to learn how to best live with it and focus on overall health vs preventing infection."
Neman argued that since the coronavirus is not going anywhere anytime soon, the government should impose "health mandates" by banning or taxing unhealthy food.
"What if we made the food that is making us sick illegal?" the post read. "What if we taxed processed food and refined sugar to pay for the impact of the pandemic? What if we incentivized health?"
The CEO's post quickly received criticism for what some alleged was fat-shaming, Business Insider reported.
"This post is disgusting," one person commented, while another called the post "incredibly fat-phobic."
Neman deleted the post after Vice reported on it Wednesday but acknowledged before doing so that the commenters criticizing him made "some good points," according to Business Insider.
Before deleting the original LinkedIn post, Neman wrote that he intended for it "to be a thought-starter on how we could think of health differently (instead of just sickness) and attack the root causes that are killing us beyond the one in the news every day (COVID)," The New York Post reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study in March that revealed that half of the people hospitalized for COVID-19 were obese.