Obese people at high risk of COVID-19

Washington: People with severe obesity are now considered at risk of Covid-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The importance of understanding the population at risk is ever-increasing now.

Severe obesity as a risk factor for Covid-19 emphasises that countries with high numbers of severely obese patients may experience increased pressure on their health systems.

Studies from swine flu outbreak in 2009, also reported severe obesity as an independent risk factor for increased mortality with infection. The Covid-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network has collected clinical data on Covid-19 patients in US. Among patients aged 18–64 years, obesity was the most prevalent underlying condition.

GlobalData epidemiologists analyzed the proportion of men and women over the age of 18 years across US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, China, and South Korea who are severely obese. Epidemiologists found that the UK has the second-highest population that is severely obese, with an approximate total prevalence of 2.5%.

Studies looking at risk factors for Covid-19 in China did not report severe obesity as risk factor most likely due to China reporting a lower total prevalence of severe obesity than most western countries.

Health systems are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the number of Covid-19 patients requiring treatment within intensive care units (ICUs). The World Obesity Federation has also reported that pressure is coming from severely obese patients, due to a lack of specialist beds and difficulties positioning and transporting patients. It is vital these countries protect this vulnerable risk group, as a way of reducing the number of deaths from Covid-19.

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