Know your BMI (body mass index)
As the global COVID-19 pandemic began, we learned about specific risk factors that can negatively impact the health of people infected with COVID-19. These factors include older age, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. How do you know if you are obese? Body mass index (BMI) can measure obesity by looking at your body fat calculated using your weight and height (https://bit.ly/3eounw6). A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. If you are overweight, your BMI will be between 25 and 29.9. Underweight is anything less than 18.5. If someone is obese, their BMI is 30 or greater.
Underweight and overweight people are at risk for death from COVID-19
Researchers looked at whether being underweight (with a low BMI) is also a risk factor for health complications from COVID-19. After analyzing data from 28 clinical trials with more than 112,000 patients, they found that both high and low BMIs are risk factors for hospitalization, admission to the critical care unit or death due to COVID-19.
These findings add new knowledge. Previously, we already knew that people with obesity are considered a risk group from COVID-19. Now, we know that there is also a risk for people who are underweight.
Awareness of at-risk populations is key when developing strategies for prevention, control, and treatment in the current pandemic. For example, the supply of COVID‐19 vaccines is limited around the world. This means it is very important for us to determine vaccine priority groups. People with obesity already have high vaccine priority, but underweight people have not received the same level of priority. This study shows that underweight people also need urgent vaccination.
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