COVID-19 & Obesity News Digest: 19 - 30th April
We are compiling stories from credible sources representing all regions of the world, including academic articles, position statements and mainstream news, amongst others.
Pfizer COVID-19 shot effective for people with chronic diseases: Israel study - Channel News Asia
According to a new study the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is effective at preventing symptomatic and severe disease in people with chronic illnesses, like diabetes and heart disease. The analysis of almost 1.2 million people showed that the vaccine was 80 percent effective against symptomatic infection for people with heart or chronic kidney diseases and 86 percent for people with type 2 diabetes. For people who were vaccinated and were already suffering three or more chronic conditions or risk factors, such as heart disease, lung disease or obesity, the research shows it was 88 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infection. The research was carried out by Harvard and the University of Michigan in conjunction with the Clalit Institute.
Obesity 'a major factor' in risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID – study - Sky News
A study of nearly seven million people, conducted by the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford found strong links between an individual’s body mass index (BMI) and whether they ended up in hospital or died if they caught coronavirus. The impact of a high BMI was worse if someone was in a younger age group or from an ethnically diverse community. The study found that each excess BMI unit above 23 kg per square metre (sqm) was associated with an increased risk of hospital admission, ICU admission and death. According to the research, the effect of excess weight on the risk of severe COVID-19 was greatest in young people aged 20 to 39 years of age and decreased after age 60.
Covid-19 carries higher risk for morbidly obese men with heart disease – study - Irish Times
A new study has revealed that men living with severe obesity and chronic heart disease carry a significantly higher risk of death from COVID-19 than other patient profiles. The study conducted by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), examined almost 20,000 Irish hospital experiences to identify underlying conditions associated with disease severity. Among the patients who were hospitalised, chronic heart disease, asthma (requiring medication) and severe obesity (defined as a body mass index equal to or greater than 40) were associated with increased risk of ICU admission. Chronic neurological conditions, chronic kidney disease, obesity and cancer were all significantly associated with increased risk of death. The results support findings from other studies which show that male patients with COVID-19 experience more severe outcomes.
Covid-19 in Telangana: Obesity making recovery difficult for many - Times of India
Nearly 40 percent of all critical COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are living with obesity. Doctors in Telangana report that the high risk of severe COVID-19 associated with obesity is being reflected in the number of deaths. Obesity levels in Hyderabad (the capital of Telangana state) are far higher than in other cities, such as Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. According to the National Family Health Survey, 48.7 & of women and 33.1 percent of men are living with overweight. Doctors report that patients with obesity are not responding well to medicines and are further hindered by reduced lung capacity.
Obesity, hypertension and smoking linked to lower vaccine-induced antibody production against SARS-CoV-2 - News Medical Life Sciences
A recent study from a research group in Italy has demonstrated that antibody response can be blunted in patients with certain risk factors, such as obesity. In the study, 86 healthcare workers that underwent vaccination against COVID-19 were enrolled in January and February 2021. All subjects were given two COVID-19 mRNA vaccine inoculations (Pfizer/BioNTech) three weeks apart. Blood samples were taken for analysis before the first shot and one to four weeks after the second shot. Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were measured by using a commercially available sandwich electrochemiluminescence assay. Clinical history, body composition, demographic data, and vaccine side effects were recorded. The results showed that patients with central obesity had lower levels of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Smokers and patients with high blood pressure also exhibited a blunted immune response.
Obesity studies highlight severe COVID outcomes, even in young adults - Center for Infectious Disease and Research Policy
A study in Mexico led by researchers at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion and the Instituto Nacional de Cardiologia Ignacio Chavez in Mexico City, has revealed that obesity almost tripled the risk of death from COVID-19. The study also found that obesity in combination with other comorbidities such as high blood pressure was a significant risk factor for secondary outcomes such as pneumonia, hospitalization, invasive mechanical ventilation and ICU admission in patients with COVID-19. The national observational study involved analysis of data from 15,529 COVID-19 inpatients and outpatients in Mexico's 32 states from the National COVID-19 Epidemiological Surveillance Study between Feb 24 and Apr 26, 2020. Mexicans distinct from Asians and European are more likely to have early-onset overweight or obesity, the researchers suggest that this could mean that the toll of COVID-19 could be higher in Mexico due to its young population compared to populations with a lesser burden of disease among young adults.
Financing SDG2: Hunger and malnutrition –what will it take? - World Bank Blog
In this opinion piece (authored by a team from the World Bank) the writers describe the rise in food insecurity and the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Overall, COVID-19 is expected to have pushed an unprecedented 135 million into acute food insecurity, with 34 million at risk of famine. Estimates suggest that in addition to the 149 million stunted children today, an additional 9.3 million children will suffer from acute malnutrition, and 2.6 million more children will be stunted by 2022. Middle and low-income countries are further burdened with rising obesity levels which are associated with higher COVID-19 related deaths. The authors suggest that it is still possible to combat food insecurity and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2(SDG2) goal of Zero Hunger, but only if sustainable and innovative financing is pursued.