Contextualizing the Death of John Eyers
A Fitness Fanatic’s COVID Death, the media's agenda, and what it means to be “Healthy”.
I try to limit my cynicism as it relates to the media, but quite frankly I am reaching the point where I cannot limit my disdain.
Let’s take the phrase “if it bleeds, it leads”. No good story will be left untouched if it leads to more views and traffic. Really, any way to draw attention and stir the emotions of millions of viewers is the best way to drive narratives in the direction that they see fit.
We can see that with such horrendous things as the case/death ticker that has appeared on channels such as CNN. Whether people pay attention to it, there’s no arguing that such a display is not use because of some benevolent force.
Even more hypocritically, the media finds time to bastardize what it means to be considered “healthy”. I have written about this previously, but over the past few years the health industry has started to take on the ideas of social justice in the form of “fat activism”, redefining terms to push the idea that people can be “healthy at every size”.
This led to absurd articles at the beginning of the pandemic insinuating that concerns over obese people being at higher risk of COVID was somehow rooted in “fatphobia” more than any actual evidence. We obviously know this to be false; an overwhelming number of COVID hospitalized patients are either overweight or obese. Not only is obesity a comorbidity, it is a cause of many other underlying conditions as well including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all of which contribute to worse COVID outcomes.
This should not be seen as a form of fat shaming. I don’t think anyone should be harassed for being obese. However, we still need to operate on a science-based approach and understand that the idea of being “healthy” and being “obese” are, in fact, diametrically opposed concepts. It is extremely unlikely for someone to be both obese and healthy, especially considering that obesity is likely to lead to many other underlying conditions.
However, one of the issues we come across is the concept of health existing on some sort of binary. No, this does not mean that health can exist on a spectrum that includes those who are obese. Instead, we tend to blind ourselves into thinking that those on the other end of the spectrum are, by virtue of not being obese, healthy.
Who tends to occupy this other end of the spectrum? Well, think of people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Cena. More specifically, bodybuilders and weightlifting zealots, who we tend to look at as those at the peak of athleticism.
And herein lies the problem; the rebuttal against obesity is not hulking mass monsters such as bodybuilders. In fact, they may be more related in some aspects than we think. Remember that health cannot be measured by just what we see but depends on many factors.