Bill Maher: Confronting obesity epidemic in U.S. is key to fighting COVID-19

Bill Maher (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
Bill Maher (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images) /

Bill Maher thinks obesity is America’s top public health crisis

Bill Maher says you can scream at him all you want, but the Real Time host knows he’s right about one thing: obesity needs to be confronted. The late-night television host argued that America’s obesity problem is a major factor in the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. has become the epicenter of the pandemic. While other developed countries were able to flatten the curve, reduce transmissions, and get back to some semblance of normal life, the U.S. has seen the opposite across much of the country.

According to Bill Maher, much of the blame for that falls on American eating habits. Yes, the Real Time host has acknowledged the importance of social distancing and called out the rush to reopen. But according to Maher, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to address and confront obesity in America.

In Friday night’s “New Rule” segment, Maher pushed back against the “COVID 15” trend in weight gain during the quarantine. He called on the media to do its part in changing the narrative on obesity in what will surely be one of Maher’s more divisive commentaries.

Bill Maher continues to connect COVID-19 with a healthy lifestyle

This isn’t the first time Bill Maher has called out the overweight or criticized obesity during Real Time. It also won’t be the last. Most recently, Maher dismissed the idea of “fat shaming,” leading to an on-air response from James Corden on The Late Late Show.

Maher thinks this is the right time to return to the topic given the data connecting obesity with the increased risk of death from the novel coronavirus. The Real Time host isn’t worried about being sensitive or politically correct and instead relies on the facts and the science in making his case.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Maher has discussed the connections to personal health and eating habits. He used the pandemic to condemn factory farming and compare the health of young Americans to other nationalities.

The theme continued on Friday night as Maher questioned why medical professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci or Dr. Deborah Birx haven’t directly addressed the need for Americans to be in better shape. Maher is all for protecting the vulnerable and practicing good hygiene. But for the host, those are temporary solutions to a problem that needs a permanent one.

His tone is a mix of anger and disappointment in questioning why a clear message to diet and improve food habits wasn’t sent out at the start of the pandemic. Maher sums up his position by calling for an end to “glamorizing gluttony,” the political correctness of body positivity, and dismissing people as “health nuts” for wanting to eat healthily.

Maher’s “New Rule” is sure to get a strong reaction from people on both sides of his position. Maher’s message comes from a good place as he has the nation’s public health in mind. Clearly something has to be done to protect more Americans. But as has happened to the Real Time host before, his delivery may be what brings on the backlash.

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Do you agree or disagree with Bill Maher on this topic? Share your thoughts in the comment section. Keep checking Last Night On for more from Real Time with Bill Maher and the rest of late-night television.