Impact of obesity on COVID-19

New takes from COVID-19 conference

Part Two



In a talk titled ‘Obesity as a risk factor for COVID-19’  Prof Jason Halford, University of Leeds, presented evidence to show that people living with obesity have an increased risk of contracting the virus, hospitalization, ICU admission and dying from COVID-19.

Bringing to life the perspectives of people living with obesity, Halford shared data from a survey conducted by the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity, which reveals that 73 percent of those surveyed are concerned about COVID-19 due to their weight. However, 43 percent have also been resorting to comfort or binge eating since the beginning of the pandemic; 60 percent are experiencing low levels of motivation; and 60 percent are struggling daily with their mental health.

Halford emphasized the negative impact that unusual life events– such as quarantine and being under lockdown at home–can have on weight gain, and highlighted that many weight management services have been de-prioritized due to the pandemic. As such, Halford stressed that stigma around obesity, particularly on social media and in the press, is unhelpful in improving public health and, instead, strategies for supporting good mental health are needed to help the weight loss efforts of those living with obesity.

Read Part Three: Can Zinc Prevent COVID-19?

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