As of April 20, the number of COVID-19 cases around the world has surpassed 2.4 million with more than 165,000 reported deaths, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University, USA. Older age (>60 years old) and pre-existing diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and cancer have been widely reported as risk factors for severe COVID-19 resulting in deaths, but what about obesity?
According to the COVID-NET database in the USA, almost 90% of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 have a underlying co-morbidity, with obesity being the 2nd most common condition in the younger age groups (59% of those 18 – 49 years old are obese). In a study of 124 consecutive patients admitted to the intensive care at a tertiary hospital in Lille, France, it was found that the need for invasive mechanical ventilation is significantly associated with the male gender and BMI, independent of age, diabetes and hypertension. Patients with BMI >35 kg/m2 were 7.36 times more likely to receive invasive mechanical ventilation compared to patients with BMI <25 kg/m2.
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