Although most people who contract COVID-19 suffer from mild flu-like symptoms or sometimes no symptoms at all, doctors have noticed that an alarming number of the most severe cases are in people who are overweight. Now more than ever, losing weight is essential to remaining healthy.
BMI and COVID-19
While a BMI of under 25 is considered normal or healthy, a BMI of 25 to 29 is classified as overweight, and 30 or above is deemed to be obese. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that individuals who are classified as obese with a BMI over 40 are at high risk from COVID-19.
According to Science News, patients with a BMI of over 35 who are age 60 or older are twice as likely to be admitted to the ICU with COVID-19. A New York University (NYU) study of 4,103 seriously ill COVID-19 patients showed though age is still the most significant single risk factor for contracting the coronavirus, obesity comes in at a close second.
Obesity Risk Factors
The CDC reports that around 40% of young adults aged 20 to 39 years in the U.S. are obese. Among adults aged 40 to 59 years, that number climbs to 44.8%. For adults age 60 and older, 42.8% fall into that category. The United States has the worlds’ worst obesity rates, with over 70 million adults classified as obese.
Carrying excess weight makes it more difficult for the diaphragm and lungs to expand, which means that vital organs receive less oxygen. Extra weight also increases the risk of bacteria lodging and growing in the lungs, leading to pneumonia. Since COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system, people who are obese are particularly vulnerable. The NYU study also found that among patients who required hospitalization for COVID-19, 34% of those patients were obese.
How Obesity Affects the Respiratory System
As a person’s weight goes up, their lungs receive less oxygen. Being overweight increases the risk of diseases such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes. All of these factors put an individual at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19.
Coronavirus patients who are obese are also more likely to require extra help breathing with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mechanical respiration, which puts them at risk for more severe respiratory issues or even lung damage.
The Importance of Losing Weight
Although there is no quick solution to losing weight, it is not too late to start even now during the pandemic. Make sure you are eating healthy foods, especially while you are at home, and limit portion size, processed foods, and carbohydrates. It is even possible to get some exercise while social distancing. Taking a 15-minute walk is an excellent way to begin your weight-loss journey.
If you need help adopting a healthy and positive lifestyle, Health Coach Wingo can help. He is an independent business owner for Total Life Changes (TLC) and a certified wellness coach. He is dedicated to promoting healthy living and increased income for those who want to improve their health and lifestyle.
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