Early in the pandemic, a number of risk factors for COVID-19 were immediately identified, ranging from age and gender to body type. Researchers warned that obesity, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as anyone with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above, was one of the primary health conditions that would make an individual of any age, more susceptible to severe COVID-19 infection as well as death. This month, a new study has found that obesity might be more influential in determining coronavirus outcomes than previously believed. Read on to learn about the new study about obesity and COVID death—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Being Overweight is a “Highly Significant Predictor” of COVID Death
According to a report published Wednesday, COVID-19 and Obesity: The 2021 Atlas, the death rate from COVID-19 might be up to ten times higher in countries where over half of the population is overweight. It identifies being overweight as a “highly significant predictor” of severe infection, including complications as a result of the virus—hospitalization, ICU stays, and mechanical ventilation. It also describes the condition as a “predictor of death” in terms of COVID. On the flipside, countries where fewer than 40 percent of the population are obese, had fewer COVID related deaths.
They identified the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy as countries where over half the population is overweight, and where the death rate was much higher, while Vietnam has the lowest level of overweight people with the world second lowest COVID fatality rate.
“An overweight population is an unhealthy population, and a pandemic waiting to happen,” the report explained.
They also noted that those under 60 with a BMI between 30 and 34, were twice as likely to be admitted to the ICU as those with a BMI under 30. “Reducing one major risk factor, overweight, would have resulted in far less stress on health services and reduced the need to protect those services from being overwhelmed,” they wrote.
On the CDC website, they outline how obesity comes into play with COVID-19. “Having obesity increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People who are overweight may also be at increased risk,” they write. “Having obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection.” They add that obesity is also linked to impaired immune function, that it decreases lung capacity and reserve and can make ventilation more difficult, and that as BMI increases so does the COVID death risk. Additionally, they point out that studies have demonstrated that obesity may be linked to lower vaccine responses for numerous diseases.
They also offer a number of actionable steps you can take to lower your BMI, including eating a healthy diet, staying active, reducing stress levels, and getting enough sleep.
What to Do if You Are Worried About Your BMI
If you are worried about your BMI, you should contact a medical professional and discuss your options. So follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.