OBESITY / CLINICAL RESEARCH
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Obesity has emerged as one of the major risk factors of severe morbidity and cause-specific mortality among severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infected individuals. Patients with obesity also have overlapping cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, which make them increasingly vulnerable. This novel ecological study examines the impact of obesity and/or body mass index (BMI) on rates of population-adjusted cases and deaths due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Material and methods:
Publicly available datasets were used to obtain relevant data on COVID-19, obesity and ecological variables. Group-wise comparisons and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed. The receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) was plotted to compute the area under the curve.

Results:
We found that male BMI is an independent predictor of cause-specific (COVID-19) mortality, and not of the caseload per million population. Countries with obesity rates of 20–30% had a significantly higher (approximately double) number of deaths per million population to both those in < 20% and > 30% slabs. We postulate that there may be a U-shaped paradoxical relationship between obesity and COVID-19 with the cause-specific mortality burden more pronounced in the countries with 20–30% obesity rates. These findings are novel along with the methodological approach of doing ecological analyses on country-wide data from publicly available sources.

Conclusions:
We anticipate, in light of our findings, that appropriate targeted public health approaches or campaigns could be developed to minimize the risk and cause-specific morbidity burden due to COVID-19 in countries with nationwide obesity rates of 20–30%.

eISSN:1896-9151
ISSN:1734-1922