Connection Between Health Crises

Obesity linked with higher risk for COVID-19 complications

Body Mass Index CHart

Obesity linked with higher risk for COVID-19 complications

Anew study led by CarolinaOpens in new windowhighlights the heightened risks for COVID-19 patients with obesity and raises concerns about the impact of obesity on the effectiveness of a future vaccine.

This study was conducted by a team of researchers at theUNC Gillings School of Global Public HealthOpens in new windowin collaboration with a World Bank health and nutrition specialist and was later published in Obesity Reviews.

“We are not saying that the vaccine will be ineffective in populations with obesity, but rather that obesity should be considered as a modifying factor to be considered for vaccine testing,” said co-authorMelinda BeckOpens in new window, professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Even a less protective vaccine will still offer some level of immunity.”

Working from home, limiting social visits and a reduction in everyday activities — all in an effort to stop the spread of the virus — means we’re moving less than ever, said lead authorBarry PopkinOpens in new window, a professor in the department of nutrition and member of theCarolina Population CenterOpens in new window.

“Given the significant threat COVID-19 represents to individuals with obesity, healthy food policies can play a supportive — and especially important — role in the mitigation of COVID-19 mortality and morbidity,” said Popkin.

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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

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