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News > U.S.

US: Obesity Increases COVID-19 Risk, Study Says

  • People dine at a restaurant in Central London, Britain.  August 26, 2020

    People dine at a restaurant in Central London, Britain. August 26, 2020 | Photo: EFE/EPA/WILL OLIVER

Published 26 August 2020
Opinion

Overweight can also lead to collateral medical conditions that difficult the patients' response to the virus, such as diabetes, metabolic alterations, heart disease, and inflammation.

People suffering from obesity are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and have more probabilities of dying due to the virus, a study from the University of North Carolina in the U.S. revealed on Tuesday.

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According to the study, patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 face a 113% risk of contracting COVID-19, as well as 74% probability of being in intensive care, and by 48% of dying because of the virus.

“That’s a pretty big effect for me. It is a 50% increase essentially. That’s a pretty high scary number. All of it is actually, much higher than I ever expected,” UNC Gillings Global School of Public Health professor and lead author of the study Barry Popkin.

Worldwide highest obesity rates concentrate in the U.S. and the U.K., where respectively over 40% and 28% of adults present alarming overweight. The virus has also harshly affected those nations.

“Individuals with obesity are also more likely to experience physical ailments that make fighting this disease harder, such as sleep apnoea, which increases pulmonary hypertension, or a body mass index that increases difficulties in a hospital setting with intubation,” the investigation co-author Prof Melinda Beck said.

Overweight can also lead to collateral medical conditions that difficult the patients’ response to the virus, such as diabetes, metabolic alterations, heart disease, and inflammation.

The researchers also analyzed the outcomes of several COVID-19 and flu vaccine trials. They suggest that obesity can limit an immune response compared with subjects with a regular BMI. 

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