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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Obesity linked to COVID morbidity

A Professor from the University of Sydney says there is data suggesting a link between obesity and poor COVID-19 outcomes.

Professor Luigi Fontana from the University’s Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney Medical School says two in three Australians are overweight or obese, which can make them more vulnerable when fighting to recover from rampant viruses like COVID-19.

His comments followed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s declaration that learning his own true weight was a “wake up call” during his own battle with coronavirus earlier this year.

“Two in three Australians are overweight or obese, a condition that markedly increases the risk of being admitted to intensive care and having poorer outcomes, including higher mortality, when infected with COVID-19,” said Prof Fontana.

“Data strongly suggests that a reversible damage of the inner lining of the arteries (endothelial dysfunction), driven primarily by insulin resistance, and not obesity itself, is the main element linking being obesity with poor COVID outcomes.”

“Our studies show that even small amount of caloric restriction, especially when combined with regular endurance exercise, can drastically and rapidly improve insulin sensitivity, lipid profile, blood pressure and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.”

He said these simple interventions might provide a way forward for reducing risk of hospitalisation and death for the large number of at-risk overweight and obese men and women with insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction.

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