CDC report finds 78% of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight

The report found that overweight and obese people are more likely to experience severe symptoms of the virus and are at a greater risk for hospitalization and death
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Approximately 27.8% of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight, while 50.2% were obese, coming to a total of 78%, according to a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published March 8.

A total of 148,494 US adults, who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between April 1 and December 31 were analyzed, among which 71,491 were hospitalized.

The report found that obesity increases the risk for “severe COVID-19-associated illness”. It also found that those who were overweight were more likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation.

Obesity was also linked to an increased chance of death, particularly for those under the age of 65. The report recognized that this is possibly due to chronic inflammation in the body that disrupts its immune system and impairs proper lung function.

The report indicated an increased body mass index (BMI) in an individual led to a higher risk of contracting severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The risk of contracting severe symptoms or dying from the virus were lowest among those with a BMI under 25.

The “healthy weight” was found to range between a BMI of 18.5 and 24.9 in which risks for hospitalization and death were the lowest.

“These findings highlight clinical and public health implications of higher BMIs, including the need for intensive management of COVID-19-associated illness, continued vaccine prioritization and masking, and policies to support healthy behaviours,” the report stated.

Exercising during the pandemic

With the risk of experiencing more severe symptoms due to the virus, exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may be beneficial. However, exercising can be difficult during a lockdown.

Many Ontarians have not been able to go to gyms as personal care facilities have been closed in the province on and off since the pandemic began in March 2020.

(PHOTO: Courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images)

In December 2020, Premier Ford announced a province-wide shutdown and stay-at-home order, closing down all personal care facilities, and encouraging people to stay home.

While some regions have come out of the lockdown, including Halton and York region where gyms are now permitted to open with a capacity, Toronto and Peel are still in lockdown.

One research found that quarantine weight gain is a real thing. “Staying indoors means most people are less active, and many are eating more ultra-processed foods than they might not otherwise,” explained Dr. William Dietz in the study.

“Add the anxiety that comes with a deadly pandemic, and you’ve got an ideal situation for weight gain,” he added.

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