Obesity as a risk factor for severe COVID-19: summary of the best evidence and implications for health care

Sattar, N. and Valabhji, J. (2021) Obesity as a risk factor for severe COVID-19: summary of the best evidence and implications for health care. Current Obesity Reports, 10(3), pp. 282-289. (doi: 10.1007/s13679-021-00448-8) (PMID:34374955) (PMCID:PMC8353061)

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Purpose of Review: To collate the best evidence from several strands—epidemiological, genetic, comparison with historical data and mechanistic information—and ask whether obesity is an important causal and potentially modifiable risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes. Recent Findings: Several hundred studies provide powerful evidence that body mass index (BMI) is a strong linear risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes, with recent studies suggesting ~5-10% higher risk for COVID-19 hospitalisation per every kg/m2 higher BMI. Genetic data concur with hazard ratios increasing by 14% per every kg/m2 higher BMI. BMI to COVID-19 links differ markedly from prior BMI-infection associations and are further supported as likely causal by multiple biologically plausible pathways. Summary: Excess adiposity appears to be an important, modifiable risk factor for adverse COVID-19 outcomes across all ethnicities. The pandemic is also worsening obesity levels. It is imperative that medical systems worldwide meet this challenge by upscaling investments in obesity prevention and treatments.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sattar, Professor Naveed
Authors: Sattar, N., and Valabhji, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health
Journal Name:Current Obesity Reports
ISSN (Online):2162-4968
Published Online:10 August 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Current Obesity Reports 10(3): 282-289
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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