Coronavirus disproportionately affects obese patients, CDC finds

New data shows that COVID-19 disproportionately affects obese people — and that they’re more likely to suffer severe symptoms than patients who are a healthy weight.

The data, published by the Center for Disease Control, showed that in March, about 90 percent of hospitalized patients across 14 states had at least one underlying health condition.

Obesity was the No. 2 most common condition, with it being present in more than 48 percent of the patients included in the study. It was second only to hypertension, which was present in more than 49 percent of the patients.

“Individuals with obesity can have lower operating lung volumes. Some may have obesity hypoventilation syndrome,” Dr. Ania Jastreboff of Yale University told the health website Healio.

“If an individual is not ventilating their body adequately at baseline, and you add on top of this COVID-19 infection with acute respiratory distress syndrome, individuals with obesity are already at a physiologic disadvantage in terms of their respiratory status as they work to fight the virus off,” she added.

The obesity rate of a country also appears to correlate to a rising COVID-19 infection and death rate, as Jordan Schachtel from the Institute of World Politics noted in a tweet Thursday.

Hard-hit countries like the US and Italy have high obesity rates. More than 36 percent of the US is obese, while Italy’s obesity rate is near 20 percent, according to figures from the CIA.

Countries like Japan and Korea, who have had less dire experiences with coronavirus, have obesity rates of under five percent, according to the figures.

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