COVID-19: Hospitalization significantly higher for those ove
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People who are overweight, even if only modestly, are at greater risk of COVID-19 hospitalization, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

For the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers assessed UK Biobank data of more than 330,000 UK residents, taken between 2006 and 2010.

Researchers then linked this to Public Health England data on COVID-19 hospitalizations covering the period from 16 March 2020 up to 26 April 2020. During this period, testing was restricted to those with symptoms in hospital, therefore the study represents severe COVID-19.

They found 640 people (0.2%), from the UK Biobank large population sample, were admitted to hospital after contracting the virus and discovered a link between hospitalization and increased BMI. A BMI of 25-30 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 and above is considered obese.

Researchers found those with a BMI over 25, had a 40% higher risk of hospitalization after taking into account age and sex—two independent risk factors for COVID-19.

For those in the obese category, BMI 30 plus, the risk was 70% higher. And those in the severe obese category (BMI more than 35), the odds of hospitalization more than doubled.

Researchers said: "In statistical models we found there was a linear increase in the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization with increasing BMI.

"The impaired glucose and lipid metabolism (how the body uses types of fat and sugar) appears to be a plausible cause: the links between obesity and COVID-19 infection may be more complex than simple mechanical aspects of excess fat on the diaphragm," said researchers.

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