Government guidelines & recommendations

ResourcesPolicy DossiersObesity & COVID-19 Government guidelines & recommendations

World Obesity have collated national guidelines and recommendations from governments around the world with regards to those living with obesity and the impact of COVID-19.

It includes information regarding shielding vulnerable groups both in everyday life as well as the workplace, as well as some specific recommendations as countries around the world are gradually easing lockdown. 


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Staying alert and safe (social distancing)

This is the government protocol for social distancing in the UK. It classifies those living with a body mass index over 40 as “clinically vulnerable” and recommend they avoid others if possible, even as restrictions ease. Read the full guidance here.

Recommendations to prevent Coronavirus in people with diabetes and obesity [Recomendaciones para prevenir el Coronavirus en personas diabéticas y con obesidad]

This guidance from the Sistema Metropolitano de la Solidaridad in Peru claims that, because people with diabetes and obesity are less (if at all) responsive to insulin and therefore experience immuno-deficency, they should remain in total isolation and strictly follow hygiene recommendations to reduce the risk of  contracting the disease. Read the full recommendations here.

Ministerial Resolution 239-2020-MINSA [Resolución Ministerial 239-2020-MINSA (Peru)]

This government resolution from Peru bans people living with severe obesity from physically returning to work in order to protect them from COVID-19. While this originally affected those with a BMI over 30, it now only applies to those with a BMI over 40. Read the full resolution here.

Care and recommendations for nutrition in Mexico towards COVID-19 [Atención y Recomendaciones de Alimentación y Nutrición en México]

After discussing basic information about COVID-19, this guidance from Mexico delves into how poor diets may affect the immune system. It mentions that people with obesity may experience more severe illness than those without if they do contract COVID-19 possibly due to vitamin deficiencies, diminished lung capacity and challenges in receiving care in hospitals. Finally, it encourages, when possible, people living with obesity and overweight to use telemedicine. Read the full guidance here.

Groups of citizens with the higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19

This document lists separates at-risk populations into two groups. Group A, which includes people with a body mass index over 40, may return to work as long as their position does not involve direct interaction with many people. Group B is considered to be more vulnerable and should therefore remain at home. Access the full document here.

Federal law consolidated: Entire legal provision for the COVID 19 risk group regulation, version dated 21.05.2020 [Bundesrecht konsolidiert: Gesamte Rechtsvorschrift für COVID-19-Risikogruppe-Verordnung, Fassung vom 21.05.2020]

This amendment in the federal law legally defines at risk and most vulnerable groups towards COVID-19. Among the different groups listed, obesity grade III, or people with a body mass index over 40, as well as people with diabetes are included in the listed groups.  Read the full update here

Management of people living with obesity in relation to the management of the COVID-19 epidemic [Prise en charge des personnes en situation d'obésité dans le cadre de la gestion de l'épidémie de COVID-19]

This guidance document is meant to support health professionals manage vulnerable people. They aim to raise awareness without being stigmatising, to reinforce prevention of people living with obesity (defined as having a body mass index equal or superior to 30kg/m2) and provide support to their loved ones in case of suspicion of COVID-19. Read the full guidance here.

Guidelines for persons at risk of severe COVID-19 infection

This document from the Icelandic Directorate of Health provides recommendations for those more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection as the country prepares to reopen. People with obesity and some obesity-related conditions (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease) are listed definitively at higher risk. The document details why people with obesity (and other listed risk factors) may be more likely to be severely affected by the virus. Read the full guidance here.

Ordinance on Measures to Combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This ordinance is a set of measures from the Swiss Government intended to control the COVID-19 outbreak within the country. Many different topics and groups are covered by the document. In particular, Switzerland recognises those with obesity (defined as BMI greater than 40) as vulnerable to severe disease from COVID-19. Read the full ordinance here.

Recommendation of the Higher Council for Infectious Diseases People. People vulnerable to COVID-19 [Recommandation du Conseil supérieur des maladies infectieuses. Les personnes vulnérables au COVID-19]

This guidance document highlights which population groups might be more at risk to severe illness due to COVID-19. Among them, people living with obesity with a body mass index higher than 40 kg/m2 are identified as a vulnerable group. Furthermore, while the guidance highlights that the identified groups can work, it also calls on their employers to protect them while at the workplace. Read the full guidance here.

COVID-19: Back to Work Guidelines for Russian Employers

This guidance outlines rules and regulations for allowing employees to return to the workplace. Employees who fall into risk groups, including those living with obesity, are discouraged and possibly prohibited from physically returning to work. Read the full guidance here.