“Approximately 42.4% of the U.S. adult population is obese, and 9.2% is severely obese,” wrote lead author Sara Y. Tartof, PhD, MPH, Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, and colleagues. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists severe obesity at any age as a high-risk condition for COVID-19. Given the high prevalence of obesity, the potential effect of COVID-19 in the U.S. population is tremendous.”
To learn more about the relationship between obesity and COVID-19, the team tracked data from more than 6,000 patients diagnosed with the virus from Feb. 13 to May 2, 2020. Overall, even after making certain adjustments for comorbidities, patients with a BMI of 40 to 44 kg/m2 had a relative risk of death from COVID-19 of 2.48. The relative risk for patients with a BMI greater than 45 kg/m2, meanwhile, was 4.18. The risk was also greater when the patient was male or 60 years old or younger. No independent association was observed for Black or Hispanic patients compared to white patients.