Overweight people at greater risk of getting COVID-19

A new study has revealed that being overweight makes people highly susceptible to the coronavirus pandemic and other life-threatening diseases.

It added that obese people are more likely to suffer serious complications or die from infections.

The study analysed 15,100 hospitalised coronavirus patients across the United Kingdom and established a link between carrying excess weight and developing severe symptoms of COVID-19.

The research sought to determine the underlying health conditions which appear vulnerable to the virus.

It also considered the age, sex and work status of the individual.

The Telegraph reported that scientists at Edinburgh, Liverpool and Imperial College London universities studied samples from 177 hospitals across the UK.

Imperial College London’s professor, Peter Openshaw, who led the study said: “it was likely excess fat around the internal organs that was adding to the ‘cytokine storm’ caused by COVID-19, where the body releases too many proteins in an effort to fight off the virus.”

Most doctors across the world have explained that the immune systems of fat people are constantly ramped up as they try to protect and repair the damage inflammation causes to cells.

Prof Openshaw argued that using all its energy fending off inflammation means the body’s defence system has few resources left to defend against a new infection like COVID-19.

He added that obese people tend to eat a diet with very little fibre and antioxidants.

“Excess weight makes it more difficult for the diaphragm and lungs to expand and inhale oxygen. Starved of oxygen, organs will begin to fail,” he explained.

He noted, “These factors may explain why obese people’s lungs tend to deteriorate faster when the new coronavirus strikes, compared to a healthy person.”

Adding his voice, Head of the Scientific Council in France, Chief Epidemiologist Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, also said being overweight posed a greater risk.

He said up to 25% of French people are seriously at risk from the virus because of age, pre-existing conditions or obesity.

“This virus is terrible. It can hit young people, in particular obese young people. Those who are overweight really need to be careful,” Delfraissy told franceinfo radio.

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