(Noted News) — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that 78% of Americans who were hospitalized, given a ventilator, or died because of COVID-19 were obese.
Between March and December 2020, 148,494 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in 238 different hospitals across the US. Out of those patients, 71,491 were hospitalized, and out of those patients, 27.8% were overweight and 50.2% were obese. Unfortunately for obese people, their condition also makes it harder for ventilators to work on them, compounding the issue.
Being obese is defined by the CDC as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, while being overweight is defined as having a BMI of 25 or more. This means that a man who is 5’10 and 175 pounds would be considered overweight, as well as a woman who is 5’4 and 146 pounds. As of 2018, about 42% of all Americans are considered obese.
Ostensibly, the CDC reported that the higher the BMI and age of a person, the more at risk they are to being hospitalized and/or dying from COVID-19.
“As clinicians develop care plans for COVID-19 patients, they should consider the risk for severe outcomes in patients with higher BMIs, especially for those with severe obesity.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity in every age group has doubled since the 1960s.
“Childhood obesity is already epidemic in some areas and on the rise in others. An estimated 17.6 million children under five are estimated to be overweight worldwide. According to the US Surgeon General, in the USA the number of overweight children has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has trebled since 1980. The prevalence of obese children aged 6 to 11 years has more than doubled since the 1960s. Obesity prevalence in youths aged 12-17 has increased dramatically from 5% to 13% in boys and from 5% to 9% in girls between 1966-70 and 1988-91 in the USA.”
The WHO also concludes that obesity accounts for up to 7% of all health care costs in the developed world, but the figure is likely much higher when considering the many indirect health problems stemming from obesity that are not recorded as an obesity-related issue.
On the planet, there are more than a billion adults who are overweight, and nearly a third of them are clinically obese. Northeast Asian countries like Chinese and Japan are on the lower end of the obesity spectrum, while Samoa is the most obese in the world.
The link between obesity and COVID-19 is not exactly a shock as the CDC had already noted before that obesity made most people more vulnerable to diseases in general. Non-Hispanic black Americans have the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity in the US, followed by Hispanic adults and non-Hispanic white adults. The CDC’s study notes that only adults who underwent treatment at a hospital were recorded in their research, so the results could differ from the true risk that obesity poses to everyone.
According to the WHO, one of the main causes of obesity in the US and the world at large is the dietary shift toward fats, saturated fats, and sugars, which are common in modern “urban” diets.
“While genes are important in determining a person’s susceptibility to weight gain, energy balance is determined by calorie intake and physical activity. Thus, societal changes and worldwide nutrition transition are driving the obesity epidemic. Economic growth, modernization, urbanization, and globalization of food markets are just some of the forces thought to underlie the epidemic. As incomes rise and populations become more urban, diets high in complex carbohydrates give way to more varied diets with a higher proportion of fats, saturated fats, and sugars. At the same time, large shifts towards less physically demanding work have been observed.”