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Obesity and COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Last updated: 16 October 2020 at 9.40am

There has been many misleading reports recently about obesity and COVID-19 (coronavirus).

What we know from recent research is that:

  • a high number of people with obesity have been admitted to intensive care units (ICU) with COVID-19
  • people living with obesity have an increased risk of a more severe form of COVID-19

There's no evidence that people with obesity:

  • carry coronavirus without any symptoms for longer than other people
  • have a higher risk of passing COVID-19 on to others

Why people living with obesity are more at risk

People living with obesity are at a higher risk of more severe illness.

This is because obesity is sometimes associated with:

  • lung diseases such as sleep apnoea and asthma
  • heart disease - which can reduce oxygen levels in the blood
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • impaired immune system function and an impaired response to bacterial and viral illness

This increased risk does not apply to all people living with obesity.

There needs to be more research in this area.

Looking after your mental health

It is difficult living with any medical condition during the current uncertainty.

Read advice on minding your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related topics

People at higher risk from COVID-19

Dealing with fake health information during the COVID-19 pandemic

Nutrition

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