The number of people with severe illnesses from COVID-19 in the United States has appeared higher than in other countries on a per capita basis. The media has attributed this to failure of public health measures to control the viral infection. But there may be another reason why Americans have been particularly impacted by COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently updated its Coronavirus guidelines. It added a number of different symptoms that potentially could be the result of Coronavirus infection. It also clarified the confusing information about contact testing and airborne transmission of the virus. However, one change in particular is potentially insightful as to why so many Americans have had difficulty with this infection.
While previously obesity was listed as a high-risk preexisting condition for those who were infected with SARS-CoV-2, the CDC now says that anyone who’s simply overweight is also at risk for developing Coronavirus complications.
Bloomberg reported that this change was made last week without formal announcement. The change indicates that the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight risk facing a more severe version of COVID-19.
According to the CDC’s data about the weight of Americans in 2020, 40% of adults are obese and another 32% are overweight.
The CDC believes that the greater the weight, the higher the risk of COVID-19 illness that requires hospitalization. The risk of death also goes up with a higher body mass index (BMI). The BMI calculates the body mass from the weight and height of a person to estimate fat percentage. Overweight people have a BMI of 25 to 30 kg/square meter. Individuals with values over 30 are considered obese, with a BMI over 40 as severely obese.
The CDC now considers anyone with a BMI over 25 as at risk. You can calculate your own BMI at this NIH website. Remember, this is a personal risk factor that everyone can control!