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Obesity: The Reason COVID Has Hit the USA So Hard

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

    Many have wondered why the United States of America, with all of our affluence, technology, and advanced healthcare system, has been hit so hard by the Coronavirus (aka COVID-19 or just Covid). Well, the answer is that very affluence.

 

Obesity and Covid

 

      The World Obesity Federation has found that COVID-19 deaths have been 10 times higher in countries in which more than half of adults are overweight – and 90% of all deaths from the virus worldwide have occurred there.

      The federation said the connection may account for the high death rate in the U.S., in which 69.7% of its adult population is overweight. That means nearly 70 million adult Americans are obese….

      “Increased body weight is the second greatest predictor of hospitalization and a high risk of death for people suffering from Covid-19,” the report said.

      “Only old age rates as a higher risk factor. The unprecedented economic costs of Covid-19 are largely due to the measures taken to avoid the excess hospitalization and need for treatment of the disease,” the federation said. “Reducing one major risk factor, overweight, would have resulted in far less stress on health services and reduced the need to protect those services from being overwhelmed” (Just the News).

    The report, by the World Obesity Federation, found that 88 percent of deaths due to covid-19 in the first year of the pandemic were in countries where more than half of the population is classified as overweight, which it defines as having a body mass index (BMI) above 25. Obesity, generally defined as BMI above 30, is associated with particularly severe outcomes...

    The World Obesity Federation findings were near-uniform across the globe, the report said, and found that increased body weight was the second greatest predictor after old age of hospitalization and higher risk of death of covid-19 (Washington Post. Most).

    About 93 million Americans are classified as obese, meaning they have a body mass index over 30. Of those, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) estimates roughly 24 million have severe obesity — defined as a BMI over 40 or over 35 with another health problem such as diabetes, sleep apnea or high blood pressure — which could potentially qualify them for weight-loss surgery (Washington Post. The Health).

    Obesity is one of the main risk factors for severe and life-threatening COVID infections, and this has really jumped out as a problem in the U. S., and around the world. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, it infects the lungs and people with obesity have a range of other co-morbidities along with it, you know, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, even kidney disease. So they have a lot of things stacked against them. And then when you throw in a very strong respiratory infection, a lot of bad things can happen (OBP. COVID-19).

 

My Previous Comments of Obesity and Covid

 

      I have been saying obesity is a major risk factor for Covid since Day One of the pandemic. In fact, in Volume Two of my three volume set Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump, I include several Coronavirus (CV) updates. In one, I tackle the charge that Trump is to blame for the CV hitting the USA so hard. After refuting that accusation, I ask the question, “But why has the CV hit America so hard? It was not Trump’s fault. I put the blame on four reasons.” My fourth reason is the following:

 

       Fourth, we have an unhealthy American population, with two-thirds of Americans who are overweight, one-third obesely so, 100 million Americans with diabetes, and 100 million with hypertension. Those three conditions put a person at high risk of serious consequences from a CV infection. In fact, the vast majority of deaths in the USA of those under 65 have had one or more of these preexisting conditions.

      None of this is Trump’s fault. It is the fault of … individual Americans not taking personal responsibility for their health. … Dems and the MSM would call that “fat-shaming,” but it needs to be said.

 

      Note that this book was published back in early September 2020, though I have been writing in this regard long before that. It is in fact the main reason I railed against the closure of gyms and other places of exercise back in March of 2020 at the start of the pandemic. I said then that was the exact opposite of what should have been done.

      Those closures, and the lockdowns in general, led to the phenomena that was called “The Quarantine 15,” referring to the number of pounds the average American gained as result of the lockdowns. It was all so wrong headed. And here we are, almost two years later, and I have been proven right and all of the Governors who closed gyms, who closed parks, who closed golf courses, who closed beaches, who closed playgrounds have been proven wrong.

 

No Previous Comment by the Authorities

 

      Even worse, this is the first time I have seen a report that acknowledges being overweight is the primary reason (next to old age) people suffer serious consequences from a CV infection. Really! The first time. Not once before this have I read a news article, heard a radio news report, or seen a TV news report that recommended people lose weight to reduce their risk of serious consequences from a CV infection, yet doing so would have done far more to reduce the hospitalization and death rate in the USA than all of the mask-wearing mandates, social distancing requirements, capacity limits, and lockdowns we have been subjected to have done combined.

     Think about it. If back at the beginning of the pandemic, the authorities had begun to encourage the obese to lose weight, using the increased risk from Covid to the obese as an incentive, maybe some of those who are obese might have taken that advice. If they did, and if they went on a sound diet and exercise program and lost just one pound per week, by now, almost two years later, they could have lost almost 100 pounds. That amount of loss of weight would not only have greatly reduced their risk from Covid but also of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other maladies.

 

Obesity and Vaccine Efficacy

 

     The problem with obesity in regard to Covid dose not end with making Covid infections worse. Being obese might also render the vaccines less effective, making it more likely that a vaccinated obese person will suffer a breakthrough infection than an unvaccinated person. However, in the midst of all of the talk about breakthrough infections, not once have I heard mention of this point being a fact, but it very well could be, as it is with other diseases.

 

    As if the country needed yet another obstacle to getting the population immunized, researchers are concerned the vaccines might not provide obese individuals with as much protection as those who aren’t overweight.

    There’s no research on this question yet, but vaccines against the seasonal flu, hepatitis B and rabies have prompted reduced responses in obese people compared to leaner ones. If that’s true for the coronavirus vaccine, it would bode poorly for U.S. ability to mount a successful vaccination effort, considering a record 42 percent of Americans now meet the obesity threshold (Washington Post. The Health).

 

Conclusion

 

      The World Obesity Federation wrote in its report, “An overweight population is an unhealthy population, and a pandemic waiting to happen” (iHeart). Moreover, “The United Nations warned in 2020 that obesity is a 'global pandemic in its own right (Washington Post. The Health).

      Open the gyms and other places for exercise and fix the overweight problem in American. That will end the seriousness of this pandemic and prevent another one from hitting us so hard again.

       For details on the mentioned book, see: Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump: Volume Two HJC Hearings and Pre-Senate Trial Events (Mid-November 2019 to Mid-January 2020). For my CV writings where I discussed all of this previously, see Coronavirus Articles and Commentaries.

 

References:

    Just the News: High obesity rate in U.S. to blame for having one of world’s worst COVID-19 rates, study finds.

    iHeart Radio. 90% Of COVID Deaths Were In Countries With Overweight Populations.

    OPD. COVID-19 vaccine should help at-risk populations, including Oregonians with obesity.

    Washington Post. The Health 202: Obese Americans suffer disproportionately from the coronavirus.

    Washington Post. Most coronavirus deaths have occurred in countries where majority of adults are overweight.

 

Obesity the Reason COVID Hit the USA So Hard. Copyright 2021 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org).

Dems Cannot Beat Trump, So They Impeach Trump: Volume One:
Beginnings Through HIC Hearings (Early September Through Late November 2019)

    This three-volume set covers the impeachment of Donald J. Trump that occurred over the fall of 2019 to the winter of 2020.  It was yet one more attempt to oust the President from office by Democrats, who never accepted he won in 2016. A complaint about a phone call between President Trump and Ukraine President Zelensky led an impeachment inquiry to begin in early September 2019, and the resultant proceedings tore America apart at the seams. This Volume One covers the beginnings of the impeachment inquiry through the public hearings before the House Intelligence Committee.

The above article was posted on this website March 5, 2021.
It was last updated December 20, 2021.

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