The Connection Between Obesity and COVID-19

We’re all still trying to find what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to better understanding COVID-19. But there are some things we do know for sure.

We do know that those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified a number of those underlying conditions including diabetes, serious heart conditions and obesity. In fact, obesity is among the top causes for complications among hospitalized patients with COVID-19.


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So, how do you determine if you’re obese and if you are at higher risk of severe illness?

Doctors often use a scale called the Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine if a person is obese. You can figure out your own BMI using a simple calculation with your height and weight (see chart below).

You find your height along the left side and you find your weight across the top. Follow the line from your weight down to your approximate height and you’ll find your BMI.

According to the National Institutes of Health, if you have a BMI of 30 or more, you are considered obese.

Getting to a healthy BMI is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health and protect against disease and severe illness.

Losing weight and decreasing your BMI significantly improves your lung function and lowers your risk of developing hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. In fact, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins, if you are pre-diabetic, losing 5-10% of your body weight lowers your risk of developing diabetes by 58%.

If you feel like your weight may be putting you at higher risk, I strongly encourage you to speak with me or one of our nurses in our clinics. We can map out a plan for you to lose the extra weight, lower your BMI and help get you on a healthy track for a bright future.

Your health and well-being are our top priorities and we’re always here to help.


 Dr. Amy Lee, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, Lindora Clinic

 

Sources:
Centers for Disease Control. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Groups at Higher Risk for Severe Illness. (2020). Retrieved 4.27.20 from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html and https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/COVIDNet/COVID19_5.html.

Zhou, F., et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet (London, England), 395(10229), 1054–1062. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30566-3

Goyal, P., et al. Clinical Characteristics of Covid-19 in New York City [Letter to the Editor]. The New England Journal of Medicine. (2020, April 17). https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2010419
Stefan, N., et al. Obesity and impaired metabolic health in patients with COVID-19. Nat Rev Endocrinol. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41574-020-0364-6

Mafort, T.T., et al. Obesity: systemic and pulmonary complications, biochemical abnormalities, and impairment of lung function. Multidiscip Respir Med 11, 28 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40248-016-0066-z

Maruthur,N.M.,etal.E arlyresponsetopreventivestrategiesinthediabetesprevention program. J GEN INTERN MED 28, 1629–1636 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-013-2548-4