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Being overweight now potential coronavirus risk factor, CDC says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its coronavirus risk warning to include people who are considered overweight, meaning over 70% of U.S. adults may be at an increased risk for severe illness related to COVID-19.

According to CDC statistics, over 71% of Americans aged 20 and older are considered overweight or obese. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of between 30 and 40, with severe obesity being diagnosed when BMI is 40 or above. Being overweight, however, is classified as having a BMI greater than 25 but less than 30. The health agency now says that if you fall into that category, it “might increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”


Other risk factors that might increase the risk of severe illness include asthma, cerebrovascular disease, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, immunocompromised state, neurologic conditions, liver disease, pregnancy, pulmonary fibrosis, thalassemia and Type 1 diabetes. 

The CDC’s update follows numerous studies that have found that obesity may increase the risk of COVID-19-related death, including one that found the increase to be as much as 50%. The same University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill study found that those with a BMI of over 30 are more likely to be hospitalized or admitted to the ICU due to the virus. According to the research, obesity is over tied to other underlying risk factors for novel coronavirus identified by the CDC such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney, liver disease and hypertension.


Further, individuals who have obesity can have metabolic changes that result in inflammation, issues with insulin, and the immune system which can hamper the body’s ability to fight off COVID-19. The researchers suggested preventative action among the obese population that was not unlike the steps listed by the CDC.

“Given the significant threat COVID-19 represents to individuals with obesity, healthy food policies can play a supportive – and especially important role in the mitigation of COVID-19 mortality and morbidity,” Barry Popkin, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, said in a news release at the time.


Additionally, the CDC advises taking prescription medicines for overweight, obesity or severe obesity exactly as prescribed, following a health care providers recommendations for nutrition and physical activity while maintaining social distancing, calling health care provider of you have concerns or feel sick, and in the event that you don’t have a health care provider, contacting the nearest community health center or health department.

Source Article

Older, Overweight and Male: Trump’s COVID Risk Factors Make Him Vulnerable | Top News

By Kate Kelland and Ludwig Burger

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s gender, age and weight are all factors that make him more vulnerable to developing severe COVID-19, and give him a notional risk of around 4% of dying from it, health experts said on Friday.

The probability is hard to assess precisely, however, since factors such as overall fitness and activity levels, pre-existing conditions and recent medical research can all make a significant difference.

A working paper by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research published in July put an infected but otherwise healthy 70- to 79-year-old’s risk of dying from COVID-19 at 4.6%, regardless of gender.

David Spiegelhalter, a professor of risk and an expert in statistics at Britain’s Cambridge University, cited a COVID-19 survival calculator that put the mortality rate for an otherwise healthy 74-year-old white man with COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic in Britain earlier this year at 3% to 4%.

That risk would now “presumably be somewhat less”, he said, as doctors around the world have gained experience in treating the disease.

Michael Head, a global health professor at Britain’s University of Southampton, said that “the president’s profile would classify him as vulnerable. He is aged 74, and reportedly overweight”.

Information provided by a White House physician in June puts the 74-year-old president in the obese category, which triples his risk of needing hospital treatment, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released in August.

Even for otherwise healthy 65- to 74-year-olds infected with coronavirus, the mortality risk is 90 times higher than for those aged 18-29, according to the CDC data.

Julian Tang, an expert in respiratory sciences at Leicester University, said that, apart from age and obesity, “other existing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, other chronic heart and lung disease can lead to serious COVID-19 disease”.

But Naveed Sattar, a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, noted that Trump has no reported chronic conditions and is reasonably active – he plays golf frequently and appears to walk briskly – which may offset some of the risks.

The CDC data also do not take into account the state-of-the-art care that the president is likely to receive, although medical experts warned Trump’s doctors not to be tempted to treat him differently from any similar patient.

“I would advise them: Do not deviate from your standard protocol – because that’s when mistakes happen and you’re starting to experiment,” said Bharat Pankhania, senior clinical lecturer at Britain’s University of Exeter Medical School.

“This is not a time or place to experiment, just because he happens to be the president.”

A number of possible COVID-19 treatment approaches are currently being tested in late-stage trials, including manufactured antibodies designed to stop the coronavirus from invading cells.

Pankhania said the standard protocol would be to “monitor, and act if required”.

“The usual thing that we need to act on, if required, is oxygen,” he said. “And if a