Hospital analysis: Nearly half of COVID-19 patients are obese – USA DAILY NEWS

Hospital analysis: Nearly half of COVID-19 patients are obese

3 Bay Area counties share data in report published by CDC

By Mike Moffitt, SFGATE

Updated

  • FILE: EMTs move a stretcher at the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Hayward, Calif. Photo: Ben Margot/Associated Press / Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

    FILE: EMTs move a stretcher at the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Hayward, Calif.

    FILE: EMTs move a stretcher at the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Hayward, Calif.

    Photo: Ben Margot/Associated Press

Photo: Ben Margot/Associated Press

FILE: EMTs move a stretcher at the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Hayward, Calif.

FILE: EMTs move a stretcher at the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Hayward, Calif.

Photo: Ben Margot/Associated Press

Americans’ addiction to greasy junk food and heaping meal portions, disparities in access to healthy food and sitting for hours on end have made us especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

The United States has more obese people — about 40 percent of the overall population — than any other major nation, and obesity has been linked to chronic, preventable illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Any of those conditions can lead to a more severe outcome of COVID-19.

A recent analysis of hospital network data found that 48 percent of patients being treated for the disease were obese.

The COVID-NET report, published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, looked at 1,482 patients in 99 counties nationwide, including Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties in California. The data were collected between March 1 and March 31.

 

The data showed that 9 of 10 patients had an underlying medical condition, including:

—Hypertension: 49.7%

—Diabetes: 28.3%

—Chronic lung disease: 34.6%

—Cardiovascular disease: 27.8%

—Obesity: 48.3%

While the report does not confirm obesity as an independent risk factor, when it occurs in conjunction with an underlying medical condition it can aggravate the severity of COVID-19.

For patients aged 18 to 49, obesity was the most prevalent underlying condition, according to the study. Nearly 60 percent of those hospitalized were obese.

The CDC defines an obese person as one with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or more, for example, a 6-foot-tall male who weighs 217 pounds. (Exception: Muscular physiques may have high BMIs without being obese or even overweight.)

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Mike Moffitt is an SFGATE Digital Reporter. Email: moffitt@sfgate.com. Twitter: @Mike_at_SFGate