Research: Obesity raises the risk in COVID Infections.


Obesity is a risk for COVID-related deaths even under 65.


A lot of folks have assumed that youth provides protection from COVID. This is true to a point, but it is limited by some other risk factors. One such risk is obesity and another is diabetes or insulin resistance, so, even if you are under 65, you are at risk of badness from COVID.  If you’re younger than 65 years old and obese, COVID-19 poses a special danger to you, but the good news is that obesity and insulin resistance are risks that you can do something about. Doing so will lower other risks including the risk of death and disability from COVID and it might just help you lose some weight.

Research and experiences on covid wards point to increasing obesity and a high risk that you are to die from infection with the new coronavirus and require lifesaving mechanical ventilation to survive. Obesity is linked to an increased risk for intubation or death among hospitalized adults with COVID-19​[1]​, with the association observed in adults younger than 65 years but not in older adults.

Based on a data review of 2500 COVID patients admitted, they found that morbidly obese COVID-19 patients are 60% more likely to die or require intubation, compared with people of normal weight. This finding is especially strong below age 65. They also found that patients who were mildly obese were 10% more likely to die or need a breathing machine, while those who were moderately obese were 30% more likely, according to the study. Looking at BMI, researchers found that excess pounds did increase patients’ risk of severe COVID-19, but only if they were young or middle-aged, so obesity is only a risk for people under 65.

The bottom line: Obesity is associated with an increased risk for intubation or death from COVID-19 in adults younger than 65 years. COVID is a serious illness that the young should not ignore. Everyone should attempt to minimize their exposure to COVID, regardless if they are obese or not, regardless your risk or age.


  1. [1]
    M. R. Anderson et al., “Body Mass Index and Risk for Intubation or Death in SARS-CoV-2 Infection,” Ann Intern Med, pp. 782–790, Nov. 2020, doi: 10.7326/m20-3214. [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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