As part of the research, researchers from Chapel Hill University in North Carolina examined data from 75 studies conducted between January and June 2020, including 399,461 diagnosed patients in more than 10 countries in Asia, about 55% of whom were male. Furthermore, the participant's BMI measures were documented (body mass divided by the square of the body height), and they participants were divided into four groups: those with normal BMI of 18-25, overweight of 25-30 BMI, obesity of 30-35 BMI, and morbid obesity of 35-40 BMI.
Data analysis shows that participants with obesity were 46% more at risk of contracting the coronavirus compared to participants with normal BMI. Obesity was also related to a 113% higher risk of hospitalization due to the Covid-19 virus, 74% higher risk of hospitalization in ICU and 48% higher risk of death by the virus.
The researchers explained that there is a strong association between individuals with excessive body fat, especially visceral adipose tissue; individuals with obesity; major cardiometabolic problems, ranging from hypertension to cardiovascular disease to type 2 diabetes (T2D); and a number of cancers. The underlying metabolic and inflammatory factors of individuals with obesity also play a considerable role in the manifestation of severe lung diseases. Susceptibility to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the primary cause of COVID‐19 mortality, is significantly greater among individuals with obesity.
According to the researchers, the findings were surprising in their severity, and the increase of nearly 50% in mortality observed was far greater than expected. They called the findings "alarming." The researchers noted with concern that the coronavirus crisis has led to many people working from home, with limited social interaction and greater screen time, resulting in less physical exercise, while the tendency to eat an unbalanced diet made of fast, processed food – has increased.
In summation, the research emphasizes the importance of a program to reduce the scope of obesity in the population, especially at this time.
Click here for the full research
Dana Frost, the ICA health promotion specialist: The Israel Cancer Association delivers many lectures for the Board of Education on healthy lifestyle, including obesity, which is known to increase the risk of developing cancer as well as many other diseases. It is highly important to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout life by avoiding obesity, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet and performing daily physical exercise, avoiding the use of tobacco of any kind and limiting alcohol consumption. With the new school year opening, we are prepared to provide any information need for any school that may request it."