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In this article we’ll look at the link between Covid-19 and obesity as well as some top tips to get started on your weight loss journey.

Obesity and Covid-19

This article has been medically approved by Senior Pharmacist Melanie King, MPharm MRPharmS. - GPhC Reg No: 2063161

Experts are warning that having excess body weight puts you at an increased risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid-19. In our article below, we’ll look more into the link between obesity and Covid-19.

The Findings

Public Health England (PHE) has published a report that summarises findings on the effects of excess weight and obesity on Covid-19. These findings suggest that being severely overweight puts people at a greater risk of hospitalisation, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission, and death from Covid-19.

While the data doesn’t suggest that having excess body weight increases the chances of contracting Covid-19, it does show that obese people are significantly more likely to become seriously ill. One study found that the risk of death from Covid-19 increases by 40% in people with a BMI of 35 to 40. If your BMI is over 40 this jumps to 90% compared to those with a healthy BMI.

Excess fat can affect the respiratory system and it has been suggested to affect inflammatory and immune function. This can impact that body’s natural response to infection, therefore increasing vulnerability to severe symptoms of Covid-19. [1]

The PHE report also identified that potential stigma and discrimination suffered by those who are overweight or obese could contribute to an increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19, because of a reluctance to seek medical help. [2]

Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Weight

To reduce your risk of becoming severely ill with Covid-19, along with other diseases that are linked with obesity, you should aim to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Here are 12 top tips to help you to get started on your weight loss journey:

  • Do not skip breakfast
  • Eat regular meals
  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Stay active
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat foods high in fibre
  • Choose healthier food options
  • Use a smaller plate
  • Don’t ‘ban’ foods or follow fad diets
  • Don’t store junk food at home to remove temptation
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Plan your meals in advance and count calories

For more help, the NHS Website has a wealth of resources to support your weight loss.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/excess-weight-can-increase-risk-of-serious-illness-and-death-from-covid-19

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excess-weight-and-covid-19-insights-from-new-evidence