October 16, 2021

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People classified as obese, who catch Covid-19, are ‘twice as likely to die’ says new study

People classified as obese, who catch Covid-19, are ‘twice as likely to die’ says new study
Swedish researchers analysed how clinically obese patients - those with a body mass index (BMI) over 35 - coped with Covid-19 compared with people of normal weight. Doctor Lovisa Sjögren, of Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University, said: "Previous studies have shown that a high BMI is a risk factor for severe Covid-19. "Obesity increases the…

Swedish researchers analysed how clinically obese patients – those with a body mass index (BMI) over 35 – coped with Covid-19 compared with people of normal weight.

Doctor Lovisa Sjögren, of Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University, said: “Previous studies have shown that a high BMI is a risk factor for severe Covid-19.

“Obesity increases the risk of comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and has been shown to increase the need for mechanical ventilation in association with other respiratory infectious diseases such as influenza and pneumonia.”

In the new study, Dr Sjögren and her colleagues analysed data from ore than 1,600 Covid patients from the Swedish Intensive Care Registry.

The patients included in the study were admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) during the first wave of the Covid pandemic, between March 6 and August 30 last year. Most of the study group had a high BMI with 78.3 per cent overweight or obese.

Researchers found that there was a “significant” association between increasing BMI and the composite outcome of death during intensive care, or an ICU stay of longer than 14 days in survivors.

Dr Sjögren said: “Individuals with a BMI of 35 or more were twice as likely to have one of the outcomes of death or prolonged ICU stay, adjusted for age and sex.

“Moreover, this association remained after adjusting for the presence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, liver or kidney disease, as well as after adjusting for severity of illness at ICU admission.”

The team concluded that obesity is an independent risk factor for severe outcome from intensive care in patients with Covid-19, and suggest that BMI be included in the severity scoring for Covid-19 ICU patients.

Dr Sjögren added: “In this large cohort of Swedish ICU patients with Covid-19, a high BMI was associated with increasing risk of death and prolonged length of stay in the ICU.

“Based on our findings, we suggest that individuals with obesity should be more closely monitored when hospitalised for Covid-19.”

The findings were published in the journal PLOS One

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