In countries where more than half the population is obese, the death rate from Covid-19 is ten times higher (weighted average of 66.8 deaths per 100,000 adults) or higher than in countries where less than 50% of the Population Can Live According to a report by the World Obesity Federation released on the occasion of World Obesity Day slated for this Thursday, March 4th, he is considered obese (weighted average of 4.5 deaths per 100,000 Adults) or being overweight.
“These figures are necessarily incomplete,” confirm the report’s authors. “They are struck by the ability of countries to control their borders and the speed at which the virus and its variants are spreading among the population and in the most remote areas. The patterns of the disease will also change as more people are vaccinated, ”they point out.
However, the purpose of the report, Covid and Obesity – The Atlas of 2021, is to highlight the second most important predictor of Covid-19 hospital stays and high risk of death. Only age is a higher risk, point out John Wilding and Johanna Ralston, the two board members of the World Obesity Federation who signed the report’s foreword.
This report, which used data on Covid-19 mortality from Johns Hopkins University and the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Observatory on obesity, therefore concluded that 2.5 million deaths from infection with the new one by the end of February Coronavirus caused In 2021, 2.2 million occurred in countries where more than half of the population is classified as overweight or obese.
Portugal occurs with 20.8% obesity (body mass index or BMI equal to or over 30) and 57.5% overweight (BMI or the ratio between height and weight of a person over 25) in the population, which is on average more or more less makes up other western countries, but with 67.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
It’s a less serious position than a country like the UK, which had a higher mortality rate from Covid-19: 110.73 deaths per 100,000 people. The report says that 27.8% of Britons can consider themselves obese (with a BMI over 30) and 63.7% are overweight.
In the United States, the country where most people died from Covid-19 – more than half a million – the death rate was 105.68 per 100,000 people. In this country, 36.2% of the population can be considered obese and 67.9% are overweight.
In South Korea, where there were only 1.78 deaths per 100,000 population, the proportion of obese adults is only 4.7%, according to the report – even though 30.3% are overweight.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, said of the report that it should be a “warning to governments worldwide,” the Financial Times quoted as saying.
A risky relationship
The association between obesity and the increased risk of hospitalization or possibly death in Covid-19 patients has been established in several scientific studies that were carried out over the past year. The authors of this report go one step further and say that no country where the average body mass index falls below 25 – that is, with a low prevalence of overweight or obesity – had a high death rate due to Covid-19. Using data from 160 countries, they advocate finding linear relationships between the death rate from infections from the new coronavirus and the estimated prevalence of overweight or obesity.
However, some countries such as New Zealand, Australia and several monarchies in the Persian Gulf are against this trend, where mortality from Covid-19 is relatively low (below 10 per 100 thousand people) despite being highly overweight (over 60%). “These numbers clearly reflect the impact of national responses to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the report’s authors write.
“Covid-19 is not the first viral respiratory infection made worse by being overweight. Data from the past two decades on the effects of MERS [síndrome respiratória do Médio Oriente, causada por um coronavírus aparentado com o SARS-CoV-2]The H1N1 flu and other influenza-related infections are showing more serious developments in overweight people, ”the World Obesity Federation report said.
“An overweight population is not healthy and it’s a pandemic waiting to happen,” write the authors, who urge governments and their health systems to adopt a range of recommendations, including bigger investments in health and prevention Obesity Recognition of obesity as a disease in itself that needs treatment.
A statement on Covid-19 was also issued by the World Obesity Federation and other related organizations, stressing that “Obesity is a disease that, given its prevalence and impact, which is rapidly increasing in emerging markets, is not a priority, that she should have ”. .
In Portugal, the Portuguese Society for the Study of Obesity (SPEO) and the Portuguese Association for Obese and Ex-Obese Patients (ADEXO) have published a consensus document called Recalibrar a Balança, which sets out five priorities for improving the way people are obese are being managed in Portugal, including promoting an approach to obesity treatment that goes from “individual burden to a shared public health vision”, “mobilizing resources to ensure specialized training for health professionals” or creating one Obesity Consultation Program Moves Into Primary Health Care.
“Ignoring the risks associated with obesity, particularly those related to the Covid-19 pandemic, is contributing to a country that is sicker, more vulnerable and more asymmetrical and cannot stop the progression of this chronic disease and its consequences,” commented Paula Freitas , President of the SPEO, quoted in a press release. “These consequences not only affect individuals, but also families, health systems, economies and social progress, and affect the health of future generations,” he said.