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Can anyone point me in the direction of stats about obese people fighting Covid?

(16 Posts)
GlitteryFluff Sun 03-May-20 21:19:59

I'm obese. BMI 37.5.
I'm trying to lose weight, but have just found out I'm pregnant too - feeling sick if I move too quickly therefore struggling to exercise much, though am watching what I eat.
I'm terrified that I will die if I catch it.
I've read all of the bad things about being overweight and catching it. And I know being pregnant puts me at higher risk when I'm further along. Can anyone point me in the direction of figures for people who caught it and survived it, or those who did not need to be admitted to hospital?

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zafferana Sun 03-May-20 21:25:45

You need to make sure you shield yourself OP. As someone who is pregnant you are entitled to do this, but obesity is probably a bigger risk. I read today that patients who are hospitalised are 40% more likely to do of Covid-19 if they are obese than if they are not. Now would be a good time to talk to your doctor about how to lose weight safely while pregnant (it is possible).

zafferana Sun 03-May-20 21:26:04

*die, not do hmm

PumpkinP Sun 03-May-20 21:34:12

Are obese people meant to shield? I didn’t realise that was the case? It’s not the official advice?

zafferana Sun 03-May-20 21:37:35

No, but pregnant people are considered vulnerable. I'd probably get advice though, given that the OP now has two risk factors.

Article from today's Times on obesity and covid:

GlitteryFluff Sun 03-May-20 21:39:22

I believe those with a BMI over 40 are at risk and vulnerable but not extremely vulnerable.
I work in a shop, that is currently closed, but when that opens again they are going to want me back. And I don't think I qualify for shielding? I'm not over 28weeks pregnant.

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EasterBuns Sun 03-May-20 21:39:58

It is likely obesity makes you more likely to die from covid but it is very difficult to strip it away from other things like diabetes to show the proper statistics. Although these has been lots of discussion on this I have not seen any real evidence.
That thing you need to remember is that although it may increase your risk, that risk is still extremely low. It is definitely not the case that if you get it you will die. If the overall percentage of people who get covid dying is 1% then even doubling that risk would only give you a 2% risk.

GlitteryFluff Sun 03-May-20 21:40:47

I can't get to read that article as I don't have a subscription.

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HoyaFlower Sun 03-May-20 21:41:37

Posted this on another thread but isn't it usually only people in hospital that get tested? So obese people who've had Corona but didn't need to go to hospital with it may not have been tested, so not know for sure they've had corona?

GlitteryFluff Sun 03-May-20 21:43:01

@EasterBuns that's the sort of thing I want to read. I want to know that although I'm higher risk, the chances of me dying are low. Whereas I'm just reading how bad it is and as I can't change my BMI overnight it's freaking me out.

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GlitteryFluff Sun 03-May-20 21:47:03

@HoyaFlower yes I guess that's true so we'll never really know. But in theory, that means the stats will be more in my favour?

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HoyaFlower Sun 03-May-20 22:04:05

Yes. You might be interested in this thread

GlitteryFluff Sun 03-May-20 22:05:26

Thanks will take a look.

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Goatymcgoaty Sun 03-May-20 22:10:04

I’ve not seen any peer reviewed research on obesity in the absence of additional underlying conditions such as diabetes. I just don’t think the information is there yet. Conclusions so far are very general but we don’t know if factors are interdependent or not.

psychomath Sun 03-May-20 22:50:27

Most of the reports I've seen about COVID and BMI are based on the ICNARC surveys of ICU patients in the UK, the latest of which is here. I've attached the relevant graph to show the BMI distribution of people in intensive care with COVID-19 (blue bars) vs the BMI distribution of people in the general population when you control for age and sex (orange line). You can see that the percentage of people in ICU who are in your BMI category as about the same as the percentage in the general population, so I'm not actually convinced that being obese (as opposed to morbidly obese) significantly increases your risk at all.

There have been a lot of news reports based on this survey saying that 70+ percent of UK ICU patients are overweight or obese, which has been used as evidence that obesity is a risk factor for more severe illness. However, something like 66% of the UK population is overweight or obese anyway, and the proportion increases with age (up to about age 75). So the percentage of ICU patients with a high BMI is likely a reflection of high rates of obesity in the general population, especially the elderly population, rather than due to a higher risk from the virus.

According to the survey the main risk is to people who have a BMI of 40+, who represent 3% of the general population and over 7% of ICU patients, so having a BMI over 40 more than doubles your risk of ending up in ICU compared to healthy weight people. Now obviously BMI is a spectrum and your risk doesn't suddenly halve when you go down from 40 to 39.9, so it's a good idea to try and keep steadily losing weight so that you can be at the lower end of the 30-40 range. But you also don't need to panic!

As EasterBuns quite rightly says, it's hard to say whether the higher rate of serious illness amongst people with BMI 40+ is caused by obesity alone or by the fact that many people in this category will have other underlying illnesses like diabetes and heart conditions (both known risk factors). And as a woman of childbearing age, your risk is extremely low in the first place, so even if you were in the BMI category where it was doubled - which you're not - then that would still make you very low risk overall. About a third of the country is obese, which is about 23 million people, and loads of them will have had the virus by now - even the most conservative estimates of 3-4% of the population would mean nearly a million obese people have had it - and clearly most of them are still alive and well!

By the way, on your point about struggling to exercise, don't worry too much about that - losing weight has a lot more to do with your diet. Exercise is important for your overall health, but it doesn't help that much with weight loss specifically, so you can get your weight down even if you can't do intense exercise. If you can manage to get out for a walk every day then that would be very good for you but it's not the end of the world if you're not feeling well enough.

And last but not least, congratulations on your pregnancy! It's a shame it's happening at such an anxious time, but great that you'll have something lovely to look forward to at the end of all this smileflowers

GlitteryFluff Sun 03-May-20 23:48:37

@psychomath Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate the time you've taken. I feel so much better reading that.

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