A large study done by a multidisciplinary team of scientists and doctors has determined that the biggest risk factor for severe COVID-19 pneumonia (requiring ventilation) is obesity. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 percent or higher. The correlation was linear in that the likelihood of pneumonia increased as the BMI increased.
The next two biggest risk factors for COVID-19 pneumonia were older age and being male.
“Those with severe obesity (obesity class III, BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2) had an increased risk of dying within 28 days of admission to ICU. But patients with overweight to moderate obesity (BMI 25-39.9 kg/m2) had a lower risk of this outcome,” according to the report.
We already know that obesity can lead to a lot of other health complications like Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. With this new information pertaining to obesity and COVID-19, we are urging patients with obesity, especially those who are morbidly obese, to be extra cautious about protecting themselves from exposure.
Jeremiah Robinson is a licensed and certified physician assistant in Atlanta, GA