Covid-19: Even a high normal weight increases the risk of a severe course

Forum Health Covid-19: Even a high normal weight increases the risk of a severe course

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    Covid-19: Even a high normal weight increases the risk of a severe course

    Severe courses of Covid-19 can affect anyone, but some factors significantly increase the risk. For example, it became clear early on in the corona pandemic that being very overweight is such a risk factor. However, a new study from Great Britain has now shown that even a healthy BMI can increase the risk of a severe course.

    Increased risk even with normal weight

    Obesity describes overweight with a body mass index (BMI) above 29. The reason for this does not have to be the diet, diseases or genes can also cause the high weight. A normal weight is someone with a BMI between 18.5 and 25. In their study, however, the British researchers found that the risk of severe SARS-CoV-2 infection increases at a BMI of 23. They recently published the results in the journal “The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology”.

    Lots of data analyzed

    For the study, Min Gao, Carmen Piernas and their team from the University of Oxford analyzed data from seven million people. Of these, 20,000 were infected with Covid-19 during the first wave of the pandemic, and 15,000 had to be hospitalized as a result. Most of these were people over 80, but younger people were not spared hospitalization either. For them, the analyzes showed a certain influence of weight on the course of Covid-19: From a BMI of 23, the risk of hospitalization increased with increasing weight. The authors of the study report that this effect was particularly pronounced in black people. In the elderly, however, this factor hardly played a role.

    Underweight is also dangerous

    “Our study shows that even very slightly overweight is associated with a greater risk of severe COVID-19 complications, and the risks increase sharply with increasing BMI,” said Carmen Piernas, lead author of the study. But if you want to lose weight, you should be careful: thinner does not mean healthier, not even in this context. The analyzes by the British research team showed that people with a BMI below 18.5 were also more likely to become seriously ill than people of normal weight.

    Adjust vaccination priorities

    Although there are no studies to date on the effect of weight changes on the Covid 19 risk, the study authors describe weight as the “most important modifiable risk factors” and assume that weight reduction (in the case of overweight) also reduces the risk of a severe course. They also recommend that this risk factor be taken into account when deciding on the vaccination sequence. In addition, it is worthwhile to keep the BMI between 19 and 25 in the longer term. The researchers conclude that this reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer.

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Forum Health Covid-19: Even a high normal weight increases the risk of a severe course