The vast majority of Americans who have been hospitalized as a result of complications stemming from Covid-19 were either obese or overweight, according to a study published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of patients hospitalized between March and December 2020, 50.2 percent were classified as obese, while 27.8 percent were overweight, according to the study. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or more. Overweight is classified as a BMI of 25 or greater.
Medical experts have been aware of weight-induced complications stemming from Covid-19 since last year, but their understanding of the severity of those issues has evolved. Problems can arise as a result of underlying conditions that include hypertension and type 2 diabetes, but also as a result of inflammation caused by excess fat tissue. Dr. Ethan Lazarus, president-elect of the Obesity Medicine Association, said that excess weight can also lead to difficulty breathing.
“It’s not from carrying the weight,” Lazarus noted in an interview with USA Today. “Their lungs are restricted so they’re not able to expand to get the oxygen they need.”
The CDC looked at 148,494 adults for its research who were diagnosed with Covid-19 last year. The agency has found separately that more than 40 percent of Americans are obese, while more than 70 percent are overweight.
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