According to a recent CDC study in the US, 78% of people who have been hospitalised or died from covid-19 were overweight or obese.

Of the 71,000+ adults who were hospitalised after receiving a covid-19 diagnosis across 238 U.S. hospitals, 27.8% were overweight and 50.2% were considered obese, according to the study – 78% in total. Overweight is medically defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or more. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more.

The group said that the risk of being hospitalised, sent to ICU or dying was lowest among individuals with a BMI under 25, but that the risk “sharply increased” with higher BMIs, particularly among individuals aged over 65.

Both the CDC and the HSE have previously noted that obesity makes severe illness more likely and can lead to hospitalisation. Obesity has been linked to impaired immune systems, as well as decreased lung capacity that can make breathing more difficult. As reported by the HSE:

“Obesity is a common risk factor for severe disease and intensive care admission. Data from 5700 hospitalised patients in New York found that 42% of patients had obesity and this may be a risk factor for respiratory failure leading to invasive mechanical ventilation. It is thought that obesity may be a significant risk factor for the development of severe COVID-19, even in younger people under 60 years of age.”

Additionally, the HSE noted that people with diabetes “are at increased risk for COVID-19 infection, and are at increased risk for medical complications including death.”

According to the most recent CDC figures, 73.6% of Americans are considered to be overweight, with 42% considered medically obese.

Closer to home the figure is not much better – only 37% of Irish adults have a normal weight, with 60% being considered either overweight or obese.

Despite this fact, gyms remain closed in Ireland under the government’s covid-19 restrictions nationwide, as they are considered a “non-essential” business.

Gript recently interviewed Wicklow gym owner Gary Dempsey about the effect that the lockdown has had on his business, which can be viewed below.