Welcome to the second weekly digest of stories about COVID-19, obesity and related challenges from across the globe.
We will be compiling stories from credible sources representing all regions of the world, including academic articles, position statements and mainstream news, amongst others.
If you have signed up to our newsletter, we will be sending this digest to your inbox every Monday during the current pandemic. If you have any stories from your country or discipline, please send through to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Overweight people at greater risk from coronavirus, heightened by COVID-19 links to respiratory illness (ABC.net.au)
- This article claims people living with overweight and obesity are at higher risk if ICU admission if they contract COVID-19 (implying scientific consensus).
- Obesity Puts Younger People At Risk For Severe COVID-19: Study (India Spend)
- This article summarises a study published in the Lancet which suggests that people living with overweight and obesity are more likely to experience a more severe course of illness if they are infected with Covid-19.
- This is why people with obesity are more likely to die from coronavirus (World Economic Forum)
- This article outlines the possible mechanisms by which people living with overweight and obesity may be more likely to develop severe illness from Covid-19.
- Coronavirus: Does being overweight or obese affect how ill people get? (BBC)
- This article references several studies from the UK that suggest a link between Covid-19 severity and BMI, explains the prevailing theories behind this in detail, and suggests people adopt health diets and exercise frequently while in lockdown.
- Coronavirus has shone a light on inequalities in food system, experts warn (Telegraph)
- The Global Health Nutrition report has demonstrated significant disparities in nutrition, even before Covid-19 spread globally. Public health experts have found that both under- and over nutrition make people more susceptible to Covid-19 and call for immediate action
- Obesity a risk factor for Covid-19, rules Tamil Nadu panel (Times of India)
- A committee in the Indian state of Chennai has updated guidelines to include obesity as a comorbidity for Covid-19. Doctors also recommend hospitals consider that some treatments for Covid-19 may be difficult for those with obesity, such as placing patients on their stomachs.
- The Sickness in Our Food Supply (New York Review of Books)
- This article examines the separate supply chains in the US food system, how they came to be, and why food intended for restaurants cannot easily be rerouted to food banks and grocery stores.
- The How Coronavirus Is Exposing the World’s Fragile Food Supply Chain – and Could Leave Millions Hungry (Times)
- Lockdowns and labour shortages due to coronavirus have already caused issues in food distribution, exacerbation of existing food insecurity, and limited ability to import food on the national level. If this continues to disrupt planting of staple crop, food shortages may result
- Don’t Let Asia Starve (The Straits Times)
- This article collects three editorials from different Asian countries that provide suggestions as to how governments should ensure food security during and after Covid-19.
- COVID-19 could cause the collapse of Pakistan's food system (Relief web)
- Due to high levels of food insecurity within Pakistan, it is extremely important to support farmers and provide ways for them to safely harvest, transport, and sell food products in order to combat hunger within Pakistan.
- Coronavirus: US school closings may spur childhood obesity (Independent)
- Experts fear that distance-learning may increase the rate of childhood obesity. Children at home tend to get less exercise, have more opportunities to snack, and spend more time in front of screens. Parents are also likely to buy more shelf-stable foods due to the pandemic, as children will lose access to balanced school meals. Obesity in childhood increases the risk of other non-communicable diseases.
- Boris Johnson launches a new battle of the bulge (The Times)
- After suffering from coronavirus himself, Boris Johnson promises to roll back his criticism of the “nanny state” and implement anti-obesity measures, as many report high obesity rates in the UK. Sources say he intends to encourage biking. The author suggests extending the UK sugar tax and mandating that doctors have frank discussions with patients about weight.
- Study Says Obese People Should Quarantine Longer (Forbes)
- As some studies have demonstrated that people living with overweight and obesity who contract influenza are contagious for longer and shed a higher quantity of virus than those without, experts wonder if these theories are applicable to Covid-19. However, this study did not account for other complicating factors that may increase a person’s chance of severe illness.
- Latin America’s Outbreaks Now Rival Europe’s. But Its Options Are Worse (New York Times)
- This article details the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on many Latin American countries due to overrun hospitals, economic downturns, and lack of hospitals. It uses the total number of deaths now compared to last year, which may be a better metric in the region. Lockdown enforcement, death tolls, and access to adequate care varies by country.
- Opinion: COVID-19 is a nutrition crisis too — we need a multisystems response (Devex)
- This article outlines the unique challenges and possible responses faced by LMICs in response to COVID-19. The authors recommend diversifying the food supply and encouraging local producers, developing free universal healthcare, and implementing social supports.
- World Obesity Federation statements on COVID-19 & Obesity.
- World Obesity have released a number of statements from our various teams on the implications of COVID-19, our operations, as well as guidance to those living with obesity and advice to governments and local bodies in dealing with COVID-19.
- COVID-19 is disrupting a food industry already thrown into turmoil by climate change (UN Environment Programme)
- As approximately half the global population eats rice as a staple food, the market must be protected. However, coronavirus has disrupted planting, harvest, and transport, raising prices on rice that disproportionately affect the food-insecure. Climate change is currently and will continue to disrupt rice production, so the Sustainable Rice Platform is working to combat both crises.