We will be compiling stories from credible sources representing all regions of the world, including academic articles, position statements and mainstream news, amongst others.
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David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), has said that the socio-economic impact of the pandemic may be more devastating than the disease itself. In a recent report, the WFP and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) revealed important links between COVID-19, global major migration and food insecurity. Measures to contain the spread of the disease have limited human mobility and opportunities to work, and lowered the ability of migrant and displaced people to afford food and other basic needs. It calls for a collective responsibility to safeguard the rights of migrant and displaced people and ensure their protection from further harm.
This article uses Italian hospital data to assess the impact of obesity on non-respiratory complications in patients with COVID-19. They found that obesity was significantly associated with increased probability of renal failure and shock. These associations seem stronger in younger patients than in older adults and the authors call for greater strategies to be put in place to prevent complications related to obesity.
A report from Public Health England has estimated that the death rate from COVID-19 could be as much as 6.3 times higher for people with a learning disability than that of the general public. The report suggests that this huge disparity could be because people with learning difficulties are more prone to obesity and diabetes, which in turn increases the risk of serious illness from Covid-19.
The UK government have revealed plans to implement a total ban on online advertisements for junk food in an attempt to tackle the growing obesity crisis. These new rules reflect the growing awareness of the increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19 for people living with obesity. If implemented, they would go much further than initial proposals in the summer and would affect all digital marketing.
The WHO has said that over 18% of COVID-19 related deaths in Africa are among patients with diabetes. The Africa region is also witnessing a rise in diabetes risk factors such as obesity. The UN health agency has highlighted the need for early detection, prevention and treatment of diabetes, in particular due to the fact that many people are unaware that they have the condition.
A study has shown that people living with obesity are struggling with appropriate nutrition and physical exercise due to COVID-19 restrictions. This is likely fueled further by reported increases in depression, anxiety and job loss. Notably, the study included a high proportion of people from relatively high-income households, but over 20% of these respondents were reporting difficulty with affording food.
A Lancet report has found that air pollution levels accounted for a 13% risk in COVID-19 cases. This article sets out some of the ways in which elevated pollution levels can increase risk, including endothelial damage and chronic inflammation, which are in turn associated with increased risks of cardiovascular hypertension and obesity.