The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its COVID-19 risk warning to include people that are also overweight, Bloomberg reports. Previously, the CDC’s risk warning only extended to people who are obese. The new warning that was posted to the CDC’s website on Tuesday means more than half of Americans at high risk to COVID-19.
According to the CDC, nearly 40% of Americans are obese, and 32% are overweight. These numbers that were published in late June are heavily tied to the outcome of the pandemic. The likelihood of obese people contracting serious symptoms and hospitalization is higher than normal. The CDC also reported that the risk of dying due to COVID-19 increased for people with a higher BMI (body mass index). People are officially classified as overweight when their BMI lies between 25 and 30, with obesity coming at 30+.
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The main link between body weight and COVID-19 comes with how weight influences the body’s ability to fight diseases. Barry Popkin, a nutrition professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, says that metabolic changes tied to excess weight reduces the body’s immune system to fight diseases. This body’s immune system plays a major role in deciding how our body reacts to the disease.
A review of 75 COVID-19 and BMI linked studies in August co-authored by Popkin also further emphasized the relationship between overweight people and COVID-19 severity. It was found that the risks of hospitalization and ICU treatment was much higher compared to normal-weight patients. These findings have even raised doubts about the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine on an overweight population.
It is important that we stay fit with at-home exercises while we are quarantined or working from home. Physical health is just as important as social distancing to keep ourselves safe from COVID-19 and fight this pandemic.
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