Before the pandemic, America battled another scourge: obesity, and that battle continues. The issue is so detrimental to health, obesity was one of the CDC’s original risk factors for a severe case of COVID-19. This week the agency revised its guidelines to include a whole new category—and it’s also related to extra poundage. “Revisions were made on October 6, 2020 to reflect recent data supporting increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 among adults with COVID-19,” reports the agency. The new category added: Being overweight. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
What is the New Warning About COVID Risk?
Those extra pounds you may be carrying don’t just put you at risk for heart disease or bad joints; it may increase your risk of coronavirus. The CDC has added and defined “overweight” as a new risk factor, joining obesity. “Having obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) between 30 kg/m2 and <40 kg/m2 or severe obesity (BMI of 40 kg/m2 or above), increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” reports the CDC. “Having overweight, defined as a BMI > 25 kg/m2 but less than 30 kg/m2 might increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
“Metabolic changes tied to excess weight reduce the immune system’s ability to fight disease, which likely plays a role when it comes to coronavirus outcomes, said Barry Popkin, a nutrition professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Physical factors that sometimes occur with obesity, like reduced lung capacity and sleep apnea, could also be important, he said,” according to Bloomberg. “An August review of 75 studies with data on Covid-19 and BMI co-authored by Popkin found a strong relationship between those who were overweight and obese and the risks of hospitalization and needing ICU treatment. The paper also raised questions about whether vaccines in development for the coronavirus could, like the flu shot, be less effective in those populations.”
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How Do You Protect Yourself From COVID-19 if You Are Overweight?
The CDC listes a number of “actions to take”:
- Take your prescription medicines for overweight, obesity or severe obesity exactly as prescribed.
- Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for nutrition and physical activity, while maintaining social distancing precautions.
- Call your healthcare provider if you have concerns or feel sick.
- If you don’t have a healthcare provider, contact your nearest community health center or health department.
Take those precautions seriously, and wear a face mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds, don’t congregate with people indoors, get your flu shot—and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.