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COVID-19 restrictions have disrupted the efforts of children with obesity to reach a healthy weight, according to a new study. US researchers tracked 230 children from urban, low-income backgrounds who were participating in a clinical trial for an obesity treatment programme that switched from in-person to remote sessions during the lockdowns. It found that the subjects’ BMIs increased over the pandemic period when they had been trending downwards previously. Lockdowns and other restrictions have caused significant changes to family routines, diets, exercise options, sleep patterns and emotional wellbeing – with low-income families frequently hit hardest.
The number of children living with obesity in the UK has risen dramatically since the start of the pandemic, and rates are twice as high in more deprived areas, according to data from NHS Digital. Among children starting primary school, the prevalence of obesity rose from 10% in 2019/20 to 14% the following year, while in primary school leavers it increased from 21% to over a quarter. The news comes as the NHS rolls out a pilot scheme of 15 specialist obesity clinics which will provide around 1000 children with access to dietitians, psychologists, specialist nurses, social workers, youth workers and a children's doctor.
Prior bariatric surgery may protect against severe COVID-19 outcomes – Medical Xpress
New research suggests that bariatric surgery could be a protective factor against severe COVID-19 infection and death for patients with morbid obesity. The study, at NYU Langone Health in New York City, found that patients with a history of the surgery were less likely to be admitted for emergency care or to need a ventilator, and had a shorter length of stay in intensive and overall care.
Study analyzes association between obesity and endothelial dysfunction in COVID-19 patients – News Medical
New research suggests that obesity is associated with endothelial dysfunction in COVID-19 patients. The vascular complication prevents blood vessels from contracting and relaxing adequately, which can increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke and thrombosis. The study analysed data from 109 patients hospitalised with acute COVID-19. High BMI emerged as a key factor, “followed quite a way behind by blood creatinine level, a marker of kidney function.” The researchers hope the findings will inform the care of COVID-19 patients with obesity and prompt the development of therapeutic approaches focused on the endothelium (the thin layer of cells lining the inside of veins, arteries, and heart).
It might be uncomfortable to talk about. But obesity puts children at risk of severe COVID – The Conversation
Evidence is mounting that children with obesity are at significantly greater risk of severe COVID-19 than their peers. Separate studies in the USA, Australia, and Canada, Iran and Costa Rica have all shown that children with excess weight are more likely to be hospitalised. Understanding of how weight affects COVID-19 outcomes is also developing, with research focusing on immune response and hyper-inflammation, the vascular response to stress, and mechanical effects.
Clinical trials of new antiviral pill for COVID-19, have been shown to reduce hospitalisations and deaths among high-risk patients (including those living with obesity) by as much as 89%. Pfizer will market the drug in the US under the name Paxlovid. The announcement came just a day after Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck cleared another antiviral medication in the UK, to be marketed nationally as Lagevrio and prescribed for people with mild to moderate COVID-19 and at least one risk factor, including obesity.