Overweight or obese COVID-19 patients at risk of more severe disease

19 Apr 2021

COVID-19 patients who are overweight or obese have more severe symptoms and are highly likely to require invasive respiratory support, according to a new international study.

The research, led by The University of Queensland and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), found obese patients had a 73 per cent greater chance of needing invasive mechanical ventilation and were more likely to require oxygen.

UQ’s Dr Kirsty Short said similar but more modest results were seen in overweight patients, but no link was found between being overweight or obese and dying in hospital from COVID-19.

“These findings have wide implications given that 40 percent of the global population is overweight or obese,” Dr Short said.

Researchers from UQ, Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, University of Bern in Switzerland, the Doherty Institute, Washington University, Melbourne University, Monash University and an international BMI-COVID consortium also contributed to the study. 

The research has been published in Diabetes Care (DOI: 10.2337/dc20-2676).

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