In a recent study from Tufts University, researchers found a majority of adult COVID-19 hospitalizations nationwide are attributable to at least one of four pre-existing conditions: obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure, in that order.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. One author is Dariush Mozaffarian.
In the study, the team used a mathematical simulation to estimate the number and proportion of national COVID-19 hospitalizations that could have been prevented if Americans did not suffer from four major health conditions.
The specific risk estimates for each condition were from a published multivariable model involving more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients diagnosed in New York City earlier in the pandemic.
Each condition had been strongly linked to the increased risk of poor outcomes with COVID-19 infection in previous studies.
The researchers estimated that among the 906,849 total COVID-19 hospitalizations that had occurred in U.S. adults as of November 18, 2020:
30% (274,322) were attributable to obesity; 26% (237,738) were attributable to hypertension; 21% (185,678) were attributable to diabetes; and 12% (106,139) were attributable to heart failure.
The findings call for interventions to determine whether improving cardiometabolic health will reduce hospitalizations, morbidity, and health care strains from COVID-19.
The team says that changes in diet quality alone, even without weight loss, rapidly improve metabolic health within just six to eight weeks.
It’s crucial to test such lifestyle approaches for reducing severe COVID-19 infections, both for this pandemic and future pandemics likely to come.
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