Obesity ‘raises risk of Covid’

EXPERTS have urged obese and overweight people in Bahrain to take more precautions as they are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19.

Medics have cautioned the category as the condition could also complicate the viral infection, leading to severe illness.

According to the latest statistics, more than 70 per cent of the country’s population aged above 18 are obese.

Their alerts follow evidence-based studies by Public Health England that excess weight puts people at greater risk of needing hospital admission or intensive care.

The risk grew substantially as weight increased.

“In Bahrain close to 70pc of adult population is overweight or obese,” Royal Bahrain Hospital Internist Dr Sunil Rao told the GDN.

“This means about two-third of the population and this condition comes with additional risks like pre-diabetic condition, hypertension and reduced respiratory functions.


“These combinations put a patient at higher risk when it comes to Covid-19.

“A common cold or fever can lead to complicated pneumonia with lung failure in case of an obese patient infected with the virus.

“Higher the grade of obesity, greater the risk.”

The UK has one of the highest levels of obesity in Europe and like Bahrain, almost two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or obese, with similar figures in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

According to the National Health Survey 2018, 18pc of people aged above 20 in Bahrain had diabetes, compared with 14.8pc in 2007.

In Bahrain, the obesity rates are 20pc (males) and 38pc (females).

The GDN earlier reported that studies show 50pc of Bahrain’s population aged under 20 was overweight and 40pc obese.

“Obesity is an important risk factor in the progression of Covid-19,” Dr Rao said.

Studies of Covid-19 patients in France, Italy and the US identified chronic conditions that place even younger patients at risk – and on top of the list was obesity.


“Management of obesity is a long-term process and hence extreme precaution must be taken by obese and overweight people in the current scenario to avoid getting infected. All general health protocols and guidelines must be adhered to.

“With Eid coming up, there is a chance of heightened risk and people with any medical condition must avoid gatherings of any kind.

“Precaution is important and people with such conditions should not take the risk of not wearing a mask or ignoring social distancing.”

His views were backed by Shifa Al Jazira Medical Clinic Internal Medicine Specialist Dr Najeeb Aboobacker. “Comorbidities (presence of more than one disorder in the same person) increase the risk of Covid,” he said.

“Anyone above 60 years of age is at risk and if they have any medical conditions, it adds to the risk.

“This is a new virus and we are still learning about it.

“But it has been proven that comorbidities like diabetes, obesity and hypertension can aggravate the condition.

“The recovery time for people with these conditions could be extended leading to complications.”


He also cautioned children and young adults who are overweight or obese, despite Covid complications not common among children.

“Covid 19 complications are less among children as we have witnessed.

“But obesity could be a risk factor for that category as well.

“Young adults and children who are overweight must pay attention to their lifestyle – mainly eating habits and exercise.”

In the Gulf, Kuwait has the highest rate of obesity, with 36pc among males and 48pc among females, followed by the UAE with 25pc (males) and 42pc (females).


Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/838666/Obesity-‘raises-risk-of-Covid’


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