Obesity linked to Covid-19 mortality: Study

Wednesday 06th October 2021 06:58 EDT

A new study has established a link between Covid-19 mortality and the proportion of overweight in adult populations across 154 countries. Findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Public Health in Practice’.

Leading researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee noticed increasingly evident links between obesity and mortality since the earliest pandemic of the 21st century. They went on to investigate if excess body weight may have been associated with high rates of Covid-19 mortalities around the globe.

Lead principal investigator Hamid Beladi, UTSA’s Janey S.,Briscoe Endowed Chair in Business, and his colleagues analyses plausible associations of Covid-19 mortality and excess wright in nearly 5.5 billion adults from 154 countries around the world. To identify potential patterns in data, the researchers employed cutting-edge techniques of statistical analyses.

Beladi said, “The main finsding from the analysis is a statistically significant positive association between Covid-19 mortality and the proportion of the overweight in adult populations spanning 154 countries. This association holds across countries belonging to different income groups and is not sensitive to a population’s median age, the proportion of the elderly, and/or proportion of females.”

He added, “The average individual is less likely to die from Covid-19 in a country with a relatively low proportion of the overweight in the adult population, all other things being equal, than she or he would be in a country with a relatively high proportion of the overweight in the adult population.”

The researchers say, clinically, excess body weight is related to several comorbidities that can lead to an increasingly severe course of and consequent death from Covid-19.

“Some firms in the food industry have taken the liberty of using the pandemic as a platform for marketing in ways that are all but conducive to restraining body weight,” Beladi explained. He concluded, “Our observed association, between Covid-19 mortality and the share of the overweight in nearly 5.5 billion adults residing across 154 countries that host almost 7.5 billion people around the globe, serves as a caution against putting more lives at stake.”

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