Research: Even mild obesity is a huge risk in COVID

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COVID should be a huge motivation to lose weight.

Obesity - Causes and Effects
Obesity – Causes and Effects

Ever since the COVID epidemic kicked into full gear, we have all heard the experts tout obesity as a significant risk factor for a fatal outcome from COVID. Obesity definitely appears to be a significant risk or comorbidity to adverse outcomes from COVID. This makes sense because insulin resistance is a significant risk for infection because sugar and the stress caused by lower insulin sensitivity and higher blood sugar. The problem is that there is limited research to back the reduced immunity in this situation.

A 2020 study looked into the effect of obesity on COVID infected patients​[1]​. In particular, the researchers looked at the effects of obesity on the risk of respiratory failure. The study looked at nearly 500 patients admitted with a COVID infection. Researchers specifically looked at BMI and the incidence of respiratory failure.

The researchers found that a BMI of over 30 was linked to a higher risk of ICU admission, respiratory failure, and intuition. Patients with a BMI above 35 had a high incidence of death. The findings were significant and showed a strong correlation to a bad outcome. The research found that the risk was up to 3.5 times higher in those even with mild obesity.

The bottom line: Obesity is a strong predictor of an adverse outcome and the need for admission to an ICU, intubation, and death. I would strongly recommend you consider weight loss as a means to lower your risk.

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  1. [1]
    M. Rottoli et al., “How important is obesity as a risk factor for respiratory failure, intensive care admission and death in hospitalised COVID-19 patients? Results from a single Italian centre,” European Journal of Endocrinology, Jul. 2020, doi: 10.1530/eje-20-0541. [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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