During the holiday season, it is common for people to pack on a few extra pounds. That may be one reason weight loss is the most popular New Year’s resolution each and every year. But in the midst of a pandemic, there is more incentive than ever to lose weight.
Multiple studies have shown that obesity can increase risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The higher a patient’s BMI, the greater risk for hospitalization, mechanical ventilation and death due to COVID-19. In fact, it is believed that obesity can triple the risk of hospitalization due to the COVID-19 infection. In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, HALF of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had obesity.
David Chansolme, M.D., the medical director for infection prevention at INTEGRIS Health, says we are seeing similar statistics in Oklahoma. “Since the beginning of the pandemic we have always known obesity was a risk factor for severe disease and hospitalization. We have focused our efforts on caring for these patients with vaccinations, outpatient treatments for early COVID, and aggressive inpatient therapeutics. Along with obesity come other comorbidities which impart an increased risk of severe COVID including diabetes, hypertension and chronic heart and lung disease.”
He adds, “In a state that consistently ranks in the bottom five for obesity, we have experienced a commensurate increase in severe disease when compared to our peer states. For so many reasons, addressing obesity continues to be a focus in health care. COVID is just one more reason why.”
The obesity epidemic has been a threat to Americans’ health for years. It’s the second leading cause of preventable death, after smoking. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, at more than 42% of the adult population, according to the CDC. And that’s probably a conservative number, because the data is from 2018. More than 73% of adults are considered overweight. And while the numbers aren’t as high for children, more than 20% of those 6 to 19 have obesity, and more than 13% of children 2 to 5 do.
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. For many people who carry excess weight, losing 5%-15% of your total weight can improve some weight-related conditions, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis. And now we know it may reduce the risk of COVID-19 complications as well. So if you’re obese, it is especially important this year to start a weight management plan. The INTEGRIS Health Weight Loss Center can help. Call 405-951-2131 to begin your weight loss journey today. For more health and wellness content, you can visit our blog resources here. https://integrisok.com/Resources/On-Your-Health/Categories/Nutrition-and-Weight-Loss