Can weight loss save you from Covid?

There is strong link between risk of getting infected with Covid-19 and obesity. Can weight loss help save you from Covid?

 |  3-minute read |   10-01-2022
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We are in such a situation that we could, would, do anything to keep Covid and its complications at bay. After wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing, you would be surprised to know that weight loss is next. Yes!

Now, other than fitting into your old jeans, you might have more reasons to lose weight if you are overweight.

THE WEIGHT AND COVID CONNECTION

  • A study in the JAMA online states that people with a higher Body Mass Index are at a higher risk of developing severe Covid-19 and being hospitalised with the disease or dying of it.
  • Another study from August 2020 revealed some shocking figures. It revealed that not just the severity of the disease once you've caught the virus, obesity can increase the risk of catching the virus too. According to this study, obese people are 46% more at risk of getting infected with Covid-19. The same study further added that people with obesity face 113% higher chances of being hospitalised due to Covid. Similarly, they face a 48% increased risk of death.

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WHY OBESITY IS A RISK FACTOR

Another study in The Lancet states that obesity weakens the immune system, leading to a higher risk of Covid-19. It puts one at a higher risk of Covid complications, hospitalisation and death.

But the good news is (yes, there is one): Obesity is a modifiable risk factor; which means it can be controlled by different means.

CAN WEIGHT LOSS HELP?

One study published recently in JAMA surgery mentioned that sustainable weight loss can improve outcomes of Covid-19 infection. This means if you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help reduce your chances of getting Covid as compared to obese individuals.

WHAT DOCTORS SAY

Dr Vivek Anand Padegal, Director Pulmonary Disease, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru explained, "Obese patients have done worse after Covid infection. Weight loss definitely helps but it cannot happen overnight; so it is not an immediate solution. So, if you are obese, it becomes more important to follow Covid protocols."

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"Obese people must get vaccinated on time. People with pre-existing conditions face more Covid complications and obesity is a common cause of many of these problems. Therefore, obese people should also monitor their blood pressure and blood sugar levels regularly," he added.

OBESITY, A BIG CONCERN

After smoking, obesity is the second leading cause of preventable deaths across the world. Not just Covid, it is a common risk factor of many other health issues including hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, fatty liver, poor cholesterol and much more.

Therefore, maintaining a healthy BMI can help you reduce your overall disease risk to a certain level, but make sure you do not fall for a fad diet. A crash diet will only invite more health issues and lead to short-term weight loss.

A combination of a healthy diet and exercise will lead to sustainable weight loss.

Writer

Varsha Vats Varsha Vats @varshavats19

Varsha Vats believes in unbiased journalism, and loves writing on health, lifestyle, food, entertainment and anything other than politics. She is a Senior Sub editor at DailyO.

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