In a new study, researchers confirmed that being obese greatly raises the odds that people get severe COVID-19.
The finding supports calls for obese Americans to move to the head of the line for protective vaccines.
The research was conducted by a team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the study, the team analyzed data on more than 148,000 patients treated for COVID-19 at 238 U.S. hospitals between March and December 2020.
In this cohort, 28.3% had overweight and 50.8% had obesity.
The team found that overweight and obesity were risk factors for patients requiring invasive mechanical ventilation, and obesity was a risk factor for hospitalization and death.
This is especially true for people under 65 years of age.
The team says as clinicians develop care plans for COVID-19 patients, they should consider the risk for severe outcomes in patients with higher BMIs, especially for those with severe obesity.
The findings will probably be of little surprise to physicians who have seen the sometimes deadly combination of obesity and coronavirus infection play out in hospital wards.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, many doctors treating patients have noted the propensity for obese and overweight individuals to have a more severe illness.
This is true with other respiratory viruses, as well, as obesity does compromise respiratory fitness and has many other metabolic effects.
According to the team, obesity already produces inflammatory effects in the body, putting patients at a disadvantage when COVID-19 strikes.
The current findings underscore the importance of prevention strategies, such as continued vaccine prioritization and masking.
For people carrying extra pounds, the solution to easing the threat from COVID-19 is clear.
Preventative health strategies that focus on daily exercise, healthy eating and moderation, along with a focus on mental health awareness, can be invaluable.
One author of the study is Lyudmyla Kompaniyets from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team.
The study is published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
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