There are claims on social media that high BMI may increase vulnerability to COVID-19.
Currently, national (HSE) and international (PHE, CDC) guidelines state that obesity (having a BMI of more than 30) places people at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.
Obesity has previously been recognised as an independent risk factor for problems associated with influenza (flu). There will likely be parallels between previous influenza pandemics and COVID-19, so researchers are continuing to explore how obesity could affect a person’s vulnerability to severe COVID-19.
There is evidence to suggest that severe obesity puts people at risk of having a more severe disease in COVID-19 and more likely to need advanced medical care. A systematic review of just three studies found that people with obesity were more likely to need advanced medical care and that obesity was a risk factor for poorer outcomes (complications and death) in the people with COVID-19. In particular, these studies indicate that severe obesity (BMI of above 40) is likely to increase the risk of complications from COVID-19.
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