Obesity & COVID-19 Severity

Excess weight increases the chances of developing a number of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes, which happen to be conditions that can make COVID-19 much more dangerous.

Increased inflammation in the body as a result of obesity has been well documented. Certain types of inflammation can be helpful at fighting off viruses, but chronic ongoing inflammation has the opposite effect, often making the immune system more vulnerable to infection.

In the United States, the obesity rate among adults has climbed for decades and is now at 42%. Yes, you heard correctly, Forty-Two Percent, and it is climbing in children as well. The rate is even higher among Black and Hispanic Americans, who have been the hardest hit ethnic groups, thanks mostly to the american diet. A BMJ Study of more than 5,200 infected people found that the chances of hospitalization for Covid rose for people with higher BMIs, even when taking into account other conditions that could put them at risk.

Obesity in America has become a legitimate epidemic in its own right. Under normal circumstances, obesity is a risk factor for slowly progressing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The Coronavirus Pandemic has sadly brought to light that obesity also increases vulnerability to more severe forms of acute viral infection.

This is not about fat shaming or any other mean-spirited dogma that lacks scientific understanding of the causes of obesity (not to mention compassion). This blog is about data; data that explains why obesity is more dangerous than ever, due this pandemic. If there were ever a time to make a big change in the weight of our country it would be today.

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Justin Groode MD | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC

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