The CDC in their weekly morbidity and mortality report March 12th 2021 looked at this issue. 

They found that individuals with a BMI near the threshold between healthy weight and overweight generally had the lowest risk for hospitalisations, ICU admission and death with higher risks associated with higher BMI. 

Obesity was a risk factor for hospitalisation and death, particularly amongst those adults under 65 years old.  

Individuals in the highest BMI category that was greater than or equal to 45 had a twofold greater risk of death and a 1.6 fold greater risk of hospitalisations compared to those patients with a healthy weight. 

Underweight COVID-19 patients had a 20% higher risk for hospitalisations than those with a healthy rate.  

This finding supports the hypothesis that inflammation from excess adiposity might be a factor in the severity of COVID-19 associated illness. 

The positive association found between underweight and hospitalisation risk could be explained by uncaptured underlying medical conditions or impairments in essential nutrient availability and immune response.  

The CDC concludes that continued strategies are needed to ensure community access to nutrition and physical activity opportunities that promote and support a healthy BMI. 

Preventing COVID-19 in adults with higher BMI’s and their close contacts remains important and includes multifaceted protection measures such as masking, as well as continued vaccine prioritisation. 

The London General Practice reviews all measures which can reduce the morbidity from COVID-19 and those afflicted.

It encourages those who are overweight to consult so that appropriate measures for weight reduction can be initiated. 

It also encourages those who are under weight to consult so that management programmes can be initiated.

Dr Paul Ettlinger

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