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Even Mild Obesity Tied to Significantly Worse COVID-19 Outcomes

Significantly poorer outcomes include respiratory failure, ICU admission, death, even with mild obesity

obese man weighs himself

TUESDAY, July 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is a strong, independent risk factor for poor outcomes among COVID-19 patients, according to a study published July 1 in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

Matteo Rottoli, M.D., from University of Bologna in Italy, and colleagues evaluated whether body mass index (BMI) represents a risk factor for respiratory failure, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), and death among 482 consecutive COVID-19 patients hospitalized from March 1 to April 20, 2020.

The researchers found that 21.6 percent of patients had a BMI ≥30 kg/m². A BMI between 30 and 34.9 kg/m² significantly increased the risk for respiratory failure (odds ratio, 2.32) and admission to the ICU (odds ratio, 4.96). There was also a significantly higher risk for death seen among patients with a BMI ≥35 kg/m² (odds ratio, 12.1).

"Our study showed that any grade of obesity is associated with severe COVID-19 illness and suggests that people with mild obesity should also be identified as a population at risk," Rottoli said in a statement.

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