The CDC’s list of underlying medical conditions for COVID-19 just got a little longer. Americans who are overweight are now being warned that they are at an increased risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19.
A recent review of 75 studies found a strong link between being people who were overweight or obese and higher risks of hospitalization and needing intensive care treatment. Right now, around 32% of adults here in the US are considered to be overweight and 40% are considered to be obese. So that means roughly 72% of adult Americans are more susceptible to the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.
When your body gets infected, for instance with a virus, parasite, or bacteria, your immune system kicks in to protect you from these harmful germs. But, when you are carrying extra weight, there can be metabolic changes that affect how well your immune system can fight off disease. For instance, metabolic changes can lead to problems with insulin, or increase inflammation in your body.
To know if you fall into one of those two categories, you need to know your BMI number. BMI stands for body mass index. And this number is calculated using your weight and height. You can easily find out your BMI number by searching online for free BMI sites. Now, the CDC has defined obesity as having a BMI of 30 or higher. And you’re considered to be overweight if you have a BMI between 25 and 29.
If you’re overweight or obese, you want to be extra vigilant when it comes to following social distancing guidelines. Also, now is a great time to make healthy choices when it comes to food. Nutrient-dense foods can really help support your immune system. And don’t forget to exercise or do some sort of movement with purpose on a daily basis. Also, if you’d take prescription medication for overweight or obesity, please take them exactly as your doctor prescribed them. Lastly, obesity is a complex disease. It raises your risk of developing many other serious chronic diseases that also up your risk for severe COVID-19. So please don’t hesitate to reach out to your family doctor. They can look at your health history and help you develop a healthy lifestyle program.