According to a study, excess body weight is linked to high rates of COVID-19 mortality in adult populations over the world. The study, which was published in the journal Public Health in Practice, looked at possible links between COVID-19 mortality and obesity in approximately 5.5 billion persons from 154 countries.
To detect potential patterns in data, researchers from The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the United States used cutting-edge statistical analysis tools.
According to the researchers, when the proportion of overweight adults in an adult population in one nation is one percentage point higher than in another, it is realistic to expect COVID-19 mortality to be 3.5 percentage points higher in the first country than in the second.
“The average individual is less likely to die from COVID-19 in a country with a relatively low proportion of the overweight in the adult population, all other things being equal, than she or he would be in a country with a relatively high proportion of the overweight in the adult population,” the study said.
Excess body weight is linked to various comorbidities, according to the researchers, which can lead to a more severe course of COVID-19 and mortality as a result.
They explained that metabolic problems, for example, can predispose people to a lower COVID-19 outcome. Excess body weight, according to the researchers, can result in a bigger volume and duration of infection, as well as a higher level of COVID-19 exposure.
The researchers said that the COVID-19 pandemic has been more deadly on average for adult populations living in areas with high levels of obesity. The researchers feel that their findings can be used to support public policy regulations on the food business, particularly in areas where processed foods, foods rich in salt, sugar, and saturated fats are solid.
With the death toll from the current pandemic exceeding 4.5 million, the study’s main findings call for immediate and effective regulations that are long overdue, the research said. “Some firms in the food industry have taken the liberty of using the pandemic as a platform for marketing in ways that are all but conducive to restraining body weight,” it explained.
“Our observed association, between COVID-19 mortality and the share of the overweight in nearly 5.5 billion adults residing across 154 countries that host almost 7.5 billion people around the globe, serves as a caution against putting more lives at stake,” it added.
(With Inputs from PTI)