COVID-19 and the Risk of Being Overweight
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently warned that adults who are overweight, but not obese, may be at an increased risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19. This news has many people questioning what that means for them and their health outcomes.
The Reality of Obesity
Obesity is a serious medical condition that is linked to numerous other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. The evidence shows that those with a body-mass index between 25 and 29.9 have an increased rate of complications from coronavirus infection, though the risk is lower than it is for those considered obese. More than 7 in 10 American adults are either overweight or obese.
Medical Evidence of Increased Risk
Studies have shown that among hospitalized patients in New York City, those who were overweight were twice as likely to require a breathing tube and 40% more likely to die compared to those who had a normal weight. Another study from the United Kingdom showed that people who were overweight were up to 39% more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19. While these risks persist even after controlling for other health and demographic factors, it’s important to note that the strength of this connection is still relatively uncertain.
The Role of Metabolic Changes
When it comes to the effects of excess weight on our immune systems, metabolic changes are thought to play a key role in reducing the body’s ability to fight infectious diseases. While there may be some debate over the CDC’s new warning, it serves as an important reminder of the need to prioritize our physical health, even during times of pandemic stress.