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Adult Obesity Increasing; Worsens Outcomes From COVID-19: CDC

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New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, show that adult obesity is increasing in the United States, and obese individuals are at heightened risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19.

The phenomenon remains high in 12 states, according to the 2019 Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps. Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia have an adult obesity prevalence at a rate of 35 percent or above. This is up from nine states in 2018 and six states in 2017.

Combined data from 2017-2019 show notable racial and ethnic disparities persist in adult obesity.

34 states and the District of Columbia had an obesity prevalence of 35 percent or higher among non-Hispanic Black adults.

In addition to the maps, CDC has released a summary statement on obesity and race and ethnicity as related to COVID-19 risk.

The pandemic has increased the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death among obese people, it says.

Being obese may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection. It has been found that obesity is linked to impaired immune function.

Obesity decreases lung capacity and reserve and can make ventilation more difficult.

It has also been found that the risk of death from COVID-19 increases with a rise in BMI (Body mass index).

Studies have demonstrated that obesity may be linked to lower vaccine responses for numerous diseases.

Obesity disproportionately impacts some racial and ethnic minority groups who are also at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

The report recommends that being active and eating a healthy diet can support optimal immune function and help prevent or manage chronic diseases that worsen outcomes from COVID-19.

These actions, as well as getting enough sleep and finding healthy ways to cope with stress are found to be helping with weight maintenance and improve overall health.

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