Around 78% of people who were hospitalized, needed a ventilator or died as a result of COVID-19 were overweight or obsess, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report tracked more than 148,000 U.S. adults who received a COVID-19 diagnosis during an emergency department or inpatient visit at 238 U.S. hospitals between March and December 2020. Of those adults, more than 28% were overweight while 50% were obese.
The CDC says a majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 last year were obese.
The CDC defines overweight as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more and obese is defined as having a BMI above 30.
The report found that risks for hospitalizations, ICU admission and death were lowest for people with a BMI of less than 25.
The CDC urged clinicians dealing with COVID-19 patients to develop care plans that “consider the risk for severe outcomes in patients with higher BMIs, especially for those with severe obesity.”
“These findings highlight the clinical and public health implications of higher BMIs, including the need for intensive COVID-19 illness management as obesity severity increases, promotion of COVID-19 prevention strategies including continued vaccine prioritization and masking, and policies to ensure community access to nutrition and physical activities that promote and support a healthy BMI,” the CDC’s report said.
According to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. increased from around 30% to 42% between 1999 and 2018.