Obesity and COVID-19
New PHE report confirms that excess weight can increase risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19
A new report from Public Health England highlights that people with COVID-19 who are living with overweight or obesity, are at notably increased risk of serious COVID-19 complications and death.The report also emphasises that whilst some data suggests that more people have exercised during lockdown, there is also evidence that snack food, take-away foods and alcohol sales have also increased. Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England stresses that the current evidence is clear that being overweight or obese puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, as well as from many other life-threatening diseases.
Living with obesity affects people’s quality of life and their health. People who are obese are at greater risk of several adverse health conditions such as hypertension, heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and some cancers in adults. Excess fat can affect the respiratory system and is likely to affect inflammatory and immune function, potentially impacting on the response to infection and increasing vulnerability to severe symptoms of COVID-19. Although current evidence does not suggest that having excess weight increases people’s chances of contracting COVID-19, studies indicates that obese people are more likely to become seriously ill and be admitted to intensive care with COVID-19.
Losing weight can bring huge benefits for overall health; and may also help protect against the health risks of COVID-19.
There is no single solution to tackling the obesity epidemic; and a combination of many actions will be required, including ones that help prevention of excess weight gain by supporting healthier choices.
For the individual, this means adopting a renewed mind-set that steers toward healthier living – healthy eating plus more exercise!