What You Need to Know About Obesity and COVID-19

Recent studies are highlighting that people with obesity are at higher risk of developing more severe COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill.

Additionally, a recent study showed that in populations with a higher prevalence of obesity, there are more patients in younger age groups that will develop serious illness from COVID-19 due to obesity.

As a result, obesity could cause younger patients to experience severe illness from COVID-19.

People with obesity are at higher risk of developing more severe COVID-19

We are starting to understand more about the clinical effects of COVID-19 and how it is affecting certain populations, obesity being one of them.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and being hospitalised and admitted to critical care units.

Studies have shown that each 1-unit increase in BMI was also associated with a 12% increase in the risk of severe COVID-19.

In particular, the presence of obesity increases the risk of severe illness approximately threefold with a consequent longer hospital stay. People with obesity are a high-risk group that can develop severe illness from COVID-19.

People with obesity are at an increased risk of other complications

Current data suggests that COVID-19 can result in more severe symptoms and complications in people over 65 years of age, and those with other chronic health conditions including those living with obesity.

However, in patients with COVID-19 younger than 65, the most common comorbidity is obesity, indicating that the prevalence of serious COVID-19 could shift to also affect younger patients.

Obesity is already known to be associated with other health complications including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension, which are also populations indicated to have a higher risk of more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Potential pathways linking the severity of COVID-19 and obesity

While data investigating the association between COVID-19 and obesity is still emerging, recent studies have suggested the increased severity of COVID-19 symptoms in people with obesity are due to specific pathways that link to

  • Reduced cardiorespiratory protective mechanism

  • Increased viral exposure/or reduced immune response

  • obesity-related complications and other comorbid conditions

The importance of maintaining long-term management for obesity

It remains as important as ever to ensure people with obesity are able to maintain or start a healthy weight management plan, as easily as possible. The current pandemic might contribute to an increase in obesity rates, as weight loss programmes (which are often delivered in groups) and interventions, are being severely curtailed.

The lockdown measures introduced in some countries (e.g. not leaving home for several weeks), could have an impact on mobility and enforced physical inactivity, even for short periods of time, increasing the risk of metabolic disease. The self-isolation has led to many people relying on processed food with longer shelf life (instead of fresh produce) and canned food (with higher quantities of sodium).

Bariatric medical and surgical procedures have been among those cancelled, and regular appointments of other non-acute patients have been scaled down, leaving many people with chronic diseases without the appropriate care they need.

It is important to ensure vulnerable populations, such as people living with obesity, are receiving the best care possible now, to avoid longer-term implications for health systems.

This is the time to reduce your risk

This is the time to reduce your weight under medical supervision and learn how to keep weight off and maintain your health for a lifetime.

Transformed Weight Loss Program is designed to help you lose weight quickly without being hungry all the time. There are a number of medications now available to make it easier to do this and these are prescribed at the clinic.

There has never been a better time to come and lose weight. We want you to achieve your weight goal and keep weight off and stay well!

Contact us now to find out how we can help you.

"When I joined [Transformed], I had been on a waiting list for Bariatric surgery for almost a year and had given up hope on most methods of weight loss.


But after signing up and meeting the team I felt so supported that I was willing to try. In 6 months I lost 40kg and have my life back."

- Ben

Paul's testimonial

"Thanks to all the staff at Your Health Hub, I have lost over 50kg since having a lap