COVID-19 & Obesity News Digest: 17 May - 4 June | World Obesity Federation

COVID-19 & Obesity News Digest: 17 May - 4 June

NewsCOVID-19 & Obesity News Digest: 17 May - 4 June

We are compiling stories from credible sources representing all regions of the world, including academic articles, position statements and mainstream news, amongst others. 

COVID turns obesity into ‘pandemic’ in Turkey: ReportHurriyet Daily News

A new report published by Turkey’s Parliamentary Commission has revealed that the obesity prevalence in Turkey has increased significantly during in the COVID-19 era. According to the report one in three people in Turkey is living with obesity. People spending more time at home because of lockdowns and other restrictions is the main reason behind the increasing prevalence of obesity. The report determined that obesity rates vary among regions, with western regions showing a higher prevalence of obesity than eastern regions. Obesity levels are significantly higher in women (39.1 percent) compared to men (24.5 percent); this has been attributed to a variety of reasons including lack of physical activity.

Patients with obesity at greater risk of developing long-term complications of COVID-19 - News Medical Life Sciences

A Cleveland Clinic observational study shows that survivors of COVID-19 who have moderate or severe obesity may have a greater risk of experiencing long-term health consequences of the disease, compared with patients who do not have obesity. Researchers used a registry of patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection within the Cleveland Clinic health system in a five-month period from March 2020 to July 2020, with follow-up until January 2021.The study found that a health condition called post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) was a common problem in COVID-19 survivors. The results also showed that compared with patients with normal BMI, the risk of hospital admission was 28 percent and 30 percent higher in patients with moderate and severe obesity, respectively. The need for diagnostic tests to assess different medical problems, compared with patients with normal BMI was also higher, at 25 percent with patients with moderate obesity and 39 percent in patients with severe obesity. Future studies are planned to confirm the findings of the study. 

“Corona fuels a different pandemic” – Mirage News

The pandemic has led to weight gain and a reduction in exercise levels, according to research from the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The survey conducted by the Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Nutritional Medicine (EKFZ) at TUM found that among 30 to 44 year-olds, 48 percent have gained weight since the beginning of the pandemic and this percentage increased to 53 percent among those already living with excess weight. The survey findings showed that on average, the weight gain had been 5.6 kilos, and among respondents with an already high BMI of over 30, the weight gain had been even higher at 7.2 kilos. The researchers analysed the responses of an online survey of 1,001 adults aged 18 to 70.

Due to COVID-19, teen and childhood obesity increases by 4% in MexicoThe Yucan Times / Mexico

In Mexico, the incidence of obesity and overweight in adolescents aged 12 to 19 years and young adults from the age of 20 has increased by about 4 percent due to a sedentary lifestyle caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase was revealed in Mexico’s latest National Health Survey. Drug therapy is an emerging way to address obesity in Mexico. Researchers at Cinvestav’s Pharmacology Department are conducting studies into Dnorpseudoephedrine a drug authorized for sale in Mexico. Research findings show that D-norpseudoephedrine is effective but only over a three-month period, consequently researchers are trying to develop new medications that can help patients achieve long term weight loss.

Sleep Apnea Raises Odds for Severe COVID-19Web MD

A new study has revealed that people suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea are at a greater risk of catching COVID-19. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Southern California also found that the longer patients used a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask while sleeping, the more their COVID-19 risk dropped. Data was collected on nearly 82,000 U.S. patients who were evaluated for sleep disorders between 2015 and 2020. Of those, nearly 1,500 would test positive for a COVID-19 infection. In all, 224 were hospitalised, and 61 were in the intensive care unit and/or died. The study also linked obesity, more chronic illness, and being on Medicaid to higher COVID-19 infection rates.

Over a million hospital admissions for obesityThe BBC

New figures show that there were more than a million hospital admissions for obesity-related treatment in England in the year leading into the global pandemic. The figures, published by NHS Digital, reveal a 17 percent increase in hospital admissions where obesity was a factor, compared with the year before. This amounts to almost 150,000 more instances of people being admitted to hospital over the course of a year. Women accounted for two-thirds (64 percent) of admissions where obesity was a factor. Academics and medical experts such as Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine, at the University of Glasgow describe the figures as a ‘wakeup call’ for governments and those in charge of health systems. Evidence suggests that people living with obesity have less capacity to deal with the internal damage that COVID-19 causes.

Obesity increases likelihood of peak COVID-19 antibody levels after infection Healio

Adults with obesity or severe obesity who test positive for COVID-19 are more likely to have peak antibody titer levels compared with those without obesity, according to a study from the Assuta Ashdod University Hospital team in Israel.  The team conducted a retrospective cohort study of adults in the Mount Sinai Health System who underwent a COVID-19 serology test from 1 March to 14 Dec 2020. Any test results with an antibody titer ratio of at least 1:80 was defined as a positive test, and peak antibody titer ratio was defined as 1:2,880. Of 39,342 adults included in the analysis, 12,314 had a positive antibody titer level of at least 1:80. Of the entire study cohort, there was a higher prevalence of peak titer levels found for adults with severe obesity (52%) and obesity (44.7%) compared with those with overweight (37.7%), normal weight (29.2%) or underweight (34.5%, P < .001). The researchers suggest that the higher antibody count among patients with severe obesity and COVID-19 may indicate a strong immune response, potentially resulting from a more severe COVID-19 infection.

Confirmation of strong link between hormones and COVID-19Health Europa

A new statement from The European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) has confirmed that the endocrine system is strongly involved in COVID-19 infections. Leading endocrinology researchers looked at the available COVID-19 evidence from several endocrine conditions and factors including diabetes, obesity, nutrition, hypocalcaemia, vitamin D insufficiency, vertebral fractures, adrenal insufficiency, pituitary/thyroid issues, and sex hormones. Diabetes has emerged as one of the most frequent comorbidities associated with severity and mortality of COVID-19, and mortality in Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes has consistently increased during the pandemic. Evidence is emerging that a bidirectional relationship between diabetes and COVID-19 may exist, both in terms of worsening existing conditions and new onset of diabetes. Similar trends for patients with obesity have also been identified, and the researchers note that nutritional management is important both for patients with obesity or undernourishment in order to limit their increased susceptibility and severity of infection.

Warning labels on junk food must to curb childhood obesity in India The Tribune

Public health experts in India are calling for the introduction of front of package labelling (FOPL) on junk food and regulations to cap salt, sugar and other harmful ingredients, to curb the alarming rise in childhood obesity in India. Currently more than 14.4 million children live with obesity in India and by 2025 this number is expected to reach 17 million. There is growing evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially increase the risk of children developing obesity. School closures and lockdowns have already deprived millions of children of nutritional school meals, sports and adequate physical exercise. A range of experts including Umesh Kapil, Professor, Clinical Epidemiology, Indian Institute of Biliary Sciences believe that warning labels are crucial to helping parents understand how many empty calories and harmful nutrients are being consumed by children.

WHA74 adopts landmark resolution on diabetes - NCDA Alliance

The World Health Assembly 74 (WHA74) has adopted the Resolution on Reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases through strengthening prevention and control of diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation are calling for targets to reverse current diabetes trends by addressing the gaps in diagnosis, access to lifesaving treatment and for prevention of type 2 diabetes and obesity via action on ultra-processed food and drink as major risk factors. Over 460 million people live with diabetes, and it is now among the top 10 causes of global death. Diabetes places a heavy burden on individuals, families, and economies, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where 79% of people with diabetes live. 


Tackling childhood obesity in the wake of covid-19: lessons from ChileThe BMJ

In this opinion piece, authors Rosemarie Patterson, Max Cooper and Sangeetha Sornalingam argue that the UK should learn from Chile about how to address childhood obesity. Rates of childhood obesity have doubled in Chile over the last twenty years. In 2018, 60.1percent of Chilean children were living with overweight. To address this, the Chilean government implemented a range of public health interventions to tackle structural factors. A strict food labelling system is now in place and a sugar tax. Foods with a black warning label cannot be advertised to children or on daytime television or sold in schools or with promotional toys. Pressure has also been placed on the food industry to improve the nutritional quality of widely available products.