People of any age with severe obesity — a body mass index of 40 or more — stand a high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Why Obesity is Dangerous?
- Obesity increases inflammation and weakens the immune system, making it more difficult to combat infections of any kind.
- Extra weight can put pressure on a person’s diaphragm making it more difficult to breathe resulting in starving for oxygen, thereby making complications from COVID-19 — a respiratory illness — more likely.
- In addition, clogged up arteries can also make it harder for blood carrying immune cells to circulate and travel to fight infection around the body.
Studies have suggested time and again that regular physical activity increases the number of immune cells in the body and can help boost one’s immune activity.
Obesity vs. Covid-19
The United Kingdom has seen obesity play a role in the severity of coronavirus-related illness.
A report from the Intensive Care National Audit and Resource Center in London found that 64 percent of corona-virus patients in intensive care units in the United Kingdom were overweight or obese, the International Business Times reported.
Researchers in Mexico fear the country’s obesity rates could make the pandemic especially dangerous. Mexico has the highest diabetes rate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and one of the highest obesity rates, with 72.5% of adults overweight or obese increasing the risk for Covid-19.
Experts say underlying conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity can make health outcomes far worse for corona-virus patients. For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
“The majority of the deaths that will occur in Mexico during the current epidemic will be associated with the serious problem of obesity,” Ávila told The Associated Press.
The National Health Service’s Intensive Care National Audit and Research Center released a study that found 127 of 196 cases in the ICU were overweight, according to the report.
Of the critically ill patients, there were 71 who had a BMI of 30 or higher, which is considered obese, the study said.
The new findings come as the virus has spread to more than 487,000 people across the world, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.