Obese Young People Photo: UCT.Ac.Za

Obesity makes COVID-19 more severe for young people ─Study

*Researchers say obesity increases the likelihood for serious medical complications associated with COVID-19

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Researchers from the UT Southwestern Medical Centre in a fresh study have found that young people who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk of developing severe cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Their research study discovered that age was not a protective factor against infection.

Instead, obesity increased the likelihood for serious medical complications associated with COVID-19.

Researcher Dr. Nicholas Hendren said: “In general, obese individuals are more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 than normal weight individuals.

“In the hospital, obese individuals are at a higher risk for death, or the need for medical ventilation to help them breathe, even if they are young.”

On risks of obesity, and in order to better understand the risk it poses to young people with COVID-19, the researchers analysed data from more than 7,600 patients involved in the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry.

They broke down the data by patients’ ages, prior health concerns, and body mass indices (BMIs).

Overall, they found that patients under the age of 50 were more likely to be overweight or obese than patients over the age of 70, which translated to poorer health outcomes for the younger group.

Obesity in younger COVID-19 patients increased the risk of death by more than 35 percent, and that percentage only went up as BMI scores increased, said the researchers.

Dr. Justin Grodin, one of the researchers, stated: “There is a greater proportion of obese people among those hospitalised for COVID-19, and obese patients are at higher risk for complications.”

The study finding revealed while the team had no concrete explanation for why obesity greatly affects COVID-19 outcomes, the researchers noted several possible reasons.

Having excess body weight can have an effect on breathing without the virus; once infected, those breathing troubles are only exacerbated.

They also explained that obesity is often accompanied by other health complications, like diabetes, which can weaken the immune system and increase the risks associated with coronavirus.

Dr. Grudin said:  “If you’re young and obese, you’re still at a high risk despite your age.”

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