Being obese or overweight increases the chances of someone with COVID-19 experiencing serious illness, complications, and death, new research suggests.
Having examined existing studies, Public Health England (PHE) found that carrying excess weight put people at greater risk of requiring hospital admission or intensive care. Furthermore, that risk grew as weight increased.
The findings of the PHE evidence review come ahead of an expected UK Government announcement relating to new measures to curb obesity in the country. At present, the UK has some of the highest obesity levels in Europe, with almost two-thirds of adults now either overweight or obese.
Many believe that the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown have served to exacerbate many people’s weight issues, with individuals stuck at home for prolonged periods and unable to carry out their usual exercise regimes.
The findings of the evidence review will be of particular concern to groups that are already at higher risk of COVID-related complications, such as older people, black and ethnic minorities, and those living in more deprived areas.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said the current evidence was clear: “Losing weight can bring huge benefits for health - and may also help protect against the health risks of Covid-19," she said. "The case for action on obesity has never been stronger.”