A woman walks down a street on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.
Jeff Haynes AFP | Getty Images
The majority of people who are hospitalized, need a ventilator, or have died from Covid-19 are overweight or obese, the CDC said in a new study Monday.
Among 148,494 adults who were diagnosed with Covid-1
The agency found that the risk of hospitalizations, intensive care and deaths was lowest among people with a BMI under 25. The risk of serious illness has “increased dramatically” as BMI increases, especially among people aged 65 and over, the agency said.
Just over 42% of the US population is considered obese in 2018, according to the latest statistics from the agency.
It doesn’t take a lot of extra pounds to be considered overweight or obese. A 5-foot, 10-inch man weighing 175 pounds and a 5-foot, 4-inch woman weighing 146 pounds would be considered overweight with a BMI just over 25, according to the CDC’s BMI calculator. A man and a woman of the same height will be considered obese at 210 pounds and 175 pounds, respectively.
“While clinicians develop care plans for patients with COVID-19, they must consider the risk of severe outcomes in patients with higher BMI, especially those with severe obesity,” the agency wrote.
The CDC added that the findings highlight the clinical and health implications of higher BMIs, including the promotion of Covid prevention strategies such as continuing to prioritize vaccines, masking, and policies to ensure community access to nutrition and physical activity.
Obesity is a common and costly chronic disease in non-Hispanic older Americans with the highest prevalence of self-esteem in the United States, followed by older Spaniards and white Spaniards, according to the CDC.
The CDC has previously noted that obesity increases the risk of serious illness, including hospitalizations. Obesity is associated with impaired immune function and reduced lung capacity, which can make ventilation difficult, the agency said.
The study has limitations, the CDC said. Risk assessments for severe Covid-19 were measured only in adults receiving hospital care. Therefore, these estimates may differ from the risk among all adults with Covid, the CDC said. In addition, only patients with reported height and weight information were included in the report.
The CDC received data from PHD-SR, a large hospital database.