Research links excess body weight to C

OCTOBER 1, 2021 – The links between obesity and mortality have become increasingly evident since the first pandemic of the 21st century, which led researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee to determine if excess body weight could have been associated with high death rates from COVID-19 around the world.

Principal investigator Hamid Beladi, Janey S. Briscoe Endowed Chair in Business at UTSA, and colleagues recently published a new study in Public health in practice analyzing plausible associations of COVID-19 mortality and excess weight in nearly 5.5 billion adults in 154 countries around the world.

To identify potential patterns in the data, the researchers used advanced statistical analysis techniques.

“The main finding of the analysis is a statistically significant positive association between COVID-19 mortality and the proportion of overweight in adult populations spanning 154 countries,” Beladi said. “This association is valid in all countries belonging to different income groups and is not sensitive to the median age of a population, the proportion of old people and / or the proportion of women.”

Beladi added that when the proportion of overweight people in the adult population of one country is one percentage point higher than the proportion of overweight people in the adult population of a second country, based on this study , it is reasonable to predict that COVID-19 mortality would be 3.5 percentage points higher in the first country than it would be in the second.

“The average person is less likely to die from COVID-19 in a country with a relatively low proportion of overweight in the adult population, all other things being equal, than it would be in a country with a relatively high proportion overweight in the adult population, ”Beladi said.

The authors of the study claim that, clinically, excess body weight is linked to several comorbidities that can lead to an increasingly severe course and subsequent death from COVID-19. Metabolic disorders, for example, can predispose individuals to a more adverse COVID-19 outcome. Since excess body weight can lead to a larger volume and longer duration of contagion, it can also lead to a higher level of exposure to COVID-19.

They added that, on average, the COVID-19 pandemic has been deadliest for adult populations residing in parts of the world characterized by excess body weight.

The researchers believe their findings can be used to enforce public policy regulations on the food industry, as it profits from sales of processed foods, foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fat.

With the death toll from the current pandemic exceeding 4.5 million, the group’s key findings call for immediate and effective regulation that is long overdue, Beladi said.

“Some companies in the food industry have taken the liberty of using the pandemic as a marketing platform in ways that are anything but conducive to reducing body weight,” he explained. “Our observed association between mortality due to COVID-19 and the share of overweight in nearly 5.5 billion adults residing in 154 countries which host nearly 7.5 billion people in the world, serves as a background guard against endangering more lives. “

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