For the past year and a half the world has been a different place. COVID-19 has created a health crisis in almost every country. And it is still spreading in many places despite increased vaccination levels.
Sometimes there seems like nothing you can do. But there is one factor that you have some control over that increases the risk of severe outcome - obesity. I'll explain how obesity contributes to severe COD-19 outcomes including hospitalization and intensive care admissions. You'll also discover some of the things you can do to lose weight and to improve your odds even before you reduce your weight.
The obesity epidemic
A person is considered obese when their body mass index or BMI is greater than 30. (You can calculate your BMI here). According to the CDC, there are at least 12 states where at least 35 % of the population is considered obese. And rates of obesity are increasing throughout the world. This obesity epidemic is contributing to the COVID crisis in several ways.
Worse outcomes from COVID-19 with obesity
Unfortunately, being obese can mean worse outcomes from COVID-19. People who are obese have an increased risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and the need for ventilation. And the risks increased for people with higher levels of obesity.
Obesity, especially when severe, makes hospitalization more challenging. Patients who are severely obese are harder to intubate and diagnostic imaging is also more difficult.
Men may be at a higher risk than women when obese. Men in general are at a higher risk of severe outcomes than women.
Age is also a factor since the risk of severe outcomes increases with age.
Obesity also contributes to other conditions
People who are obese are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease. The risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms increases with most chronic conditions. People with underlying health conditions are also more likely to be hospitalized and admitted to intensive care.
Altered immune response
Obesity affects your immune response. This can increase your risk from COVID in a couple of different ways. Obesity leads to a tendency towards higher inflammation, increasing the risk of developing diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Which as mentioned previously increases the risk of severe outcomes.
While obesity does not seem to increase the odds of developing COVID-19, it does make it harder to fight the disease and its symptoms.
Severe obesity can restrict breathing. Since COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, any restriction of breathing can make the disease more likely to cause issues with breathing.
What can you do?
If you are obese or overweight, it may seem like your choices are limited. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk of severe COVID outcomes. It may seem that weight loss is too difficult and will take too long to have an effect but with my custom eating plans you will see weight/fat loss from the get go. In addition, making healthy changes can help to improve outcomes even without weight loss. My custom plans also balance hormones and manage anxiety which also shows a huge link with risk of contracting COVID-19.
Get some exercise. Exercise can help to prevent weight gain, manage stress and anxiety, and improve sleep. It also helps to manage diseases which are associated with having more severe outcomes. It improves your quality of life and may also lower inflammation and improve immune response.
Make healthy food choices. Healthy food choices can help with weight management and help to improve your immunity. And healthy choices can help to manage other conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Make healthy lifestyle choices. Look for ways to reduce stress and get better sleep. Limit your use of alcohol and tobacco. By making healthier lifestyle choices you will support your immune response and help to reduce risks from other diseases.
Get help. Trying to make changes needed to lose weight can be difficult on your own. That’s where I can help. I’m a clinical nutritionist and have helped many people with dietary, emotional, and clinical support required to lose weight even when other approaches have failed.