Obesity can be deadly: Triples risk of COVID hospitalization, study shows

Study by World Obesity Foundation confirms CDC figures that show obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A new study shows that there is a link between the level of obesity in the population of a country and the COVID-19 mortality rate, Fox News reported Friday.

Researchers from the World Obesity Foundation found “high mortality rates only in countries where overweight prevalence exceeds around 50% of the adult population.”

“Globally, at the end of 2020, COVID-19 mortality rates were more than 10 times higher in countries where overweight prevalence exceeds 50% of adults (weighted average 66.8 deaths per 100,000 adults) compared with countries where overweight prevalence is below 50% of adults (weighted average of 4.5 deaths per 100,000 adults),” the World Obesity Foundation wrote in their new report, ‘COVID-19 and Obesity: The 2021 Atlas.’

With one of the highest obesity rates in the world where 42.4% of its population is labeled as being overweight in the last 18 years, the United States has the 9th-highest COVID-19 death rate in the world at 158.43 deaths per 100,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In comparison, the coronavirus death rate in Israel is 37.43 deaths per 100,000, Canada is 42.18, and Mexico is 99.7. Despite having a high percentage of its population overweight, Australia has only 3.64 deaths per 100,000 – attributed to locking down early in the pandemic and maintaining strict public health protocols.

According to the research report, the link between COVID-19 mortality and obesity is not connected to any other significant factor like the country’s wealth, reporting capacity or elderly population.

The report says the combined costs of obesity and COVID-19 are staggering.

“The International Monetary Fund has calculated that COVID-19 will cause a total of at least $10 trillion losses in global output over the period 2020-2021, and accumulating to $22 trillion over the period 2020-2025,” the foundation wrote.

Based on studies showing that over a third of coronavirus hospitalizations are also associated with “lack of physical activity and excess body weight, it can be suggested that up to a third of the costs – between $6 trillion and $7 trillion over the longer period – might be attributable to these predisposing risks,” the report said.

The findings confirm what the Centers for Disease Control has warned about the dangerous combination of the coronavirus and excess weight.

“Having obesity increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” the CDC says on its website. “Having obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection … as BMI [body mass index] increases, the risk of death from COVID-19 increases.”

Another worrying factor is that there is some evidence that coronavirus vaccines are less effective when given to obese people.

An early report from the National Cancer Institute Regina Elena in Rome that has yet to be corroborated in other studies found that obese people produced notably fewer antibodies after being vaccinated than those with a normal body weight, the Fox report noted.