Obesity increases risk for COVID-19 complications, data shows

Obesity appears to be a major risk factor for critical COVID-19 cases, according to an Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre analysis on United Kingdom critical care admissions.

The report includes data from all COVID-19 admissions to critical care units in the U.K. up until midnight March 19. Nearly two-thirds (127) of 196 patients requiring critical care were overweight, and 71 patients had a BMI of 30 or higher.

The report also found that 37 percent of admissions were patients younger than 60, and 139 of the 196 patients were men.   

Obesity can increase inflammation and weaken the immune system, while excess weight can put pressure on the lungs and increase complication risk. 

"One of the major risk factors for admission to intensive care is obesity," said Stefan de Hert, MD, PhD, former president of the European Society of Anaesthesiology, referencing unpublished data from Italy, according to UK Metro.

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