CDC says extra pounds may increase risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms

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STATEN ISLAND, NY – People who are moderately over a healthy weight have an increased risk of showing symptoms of severe coronavirus (COVID-19), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an update day this week.

Research has previously indicated that obese patients are at an increased risk of suffering from a greater infection; however, the CDC’s latest warning expands the reach of the population who may be more vulnerable to the virus.

The CDC considers people with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40 to be obese, with severe obesity starting at a BMI over 40.

A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, although there is a range between 25 and 29, which is considered overweight but not obese. This range, according to the CDC, is among the groups “at increased risk for serious illness.”

While about 40% of American adults are obese, an additional 32% fall into this category of simply overweight, according to the CDC.

The CDC made the most recent updates regarding partially overweight people on a study in the UK that included a sample of 334,329 UK participants and 640 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection.

This study found that there was “a linear increase in the risk of COVID-19 with an increase in BMI, which became evident from slightly increased weight (overweight category) to stage II obesity through compared to normal weight.

“This significantly extends the risk to quite a large portion of the American population,” said Barry M. Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, New York TImes.

The CDC considers the level of evidence to show that slightly overweight people are at increased risk currently “limited.”

The CDC recommends that people in this category follow the health care provider’s recommendations for nutrition and physical activity, while maintaining social distancing precautions.

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