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January 27, 2022
A new study concluded that people can reduce their risk from COVID-19 by shedding a few pounds.
The Cleveland Clinic found that, among COVID-19 patients with obesity, weight loss via bariatric surgery was associated with a 60% reduction in risk of severe complications from the virus.
“Obesity weakens the immune system, creates a chronic inflammatory state, and increases risk for cardiovascular disease, blood clots, and lung conditions. All of these conditions can complicate COVID-19,” the Clinic said in a press release.
The aim of this study was to examine whether a successful weight-loss intervention in patients with obesity prior to contracting COVID-19 could reduce the risk of developing a severe form of this disease.
“The research findings show that patients with obesity who achieved substantial and sustained weight loss with bariatric surgery prior to a COVID-19 infection reduced their risk of developing severe illness by 60 percent,” said Ali Aminian, M.D., lead author of the study and director of Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric & Metabolic Institute.
“Our study provides strong evidence that obesity is a modifiable risk factor for COVID-19 that can be improved through a successful weight-loss intervention.”
A total of 20,212 adult patients with obesity were included in this observational study. A group of 5,053 patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater who had weight-loss surgery between 2004 and 2017 were carefully matched 1:3 to non-surgical patients, resulting in 15,159 control patients.
Compared with those in the non-surgical group, patients who had bariatric surgery lost 19% more body weight prior to March 1, 2020 (the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Cleveland).
American public health officials have suggested several interventions for reducing personal risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, from mask wearing to vaccination to avoiding large gatherings and changing the ventilation systems in houses.
Publicly highlighting obesity as one of the biggest risk factors for severe COVID-19 from any public official has been rare, and even fewer have publicly told Americans to lose weight if they want to protect themselves from hospitalization or death from COVID-19.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: EATTHIS.COM