Observational studies, from multiple countries, repeatedly demonstrate an association between obesity and severe COVID-19, which is defined as need for hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) or death. Meta-analysis of studies from China, USA, and France show odds ratio (OR) of 2.31 (95% CI 1.3-4.1) for obesity and severe COVID-19. Other studies show OR of 12.1 (95% CI 3.25-45.1) for mortality and OR of 7.36 (95% CI 1.63-33.14) for need for IMV for patients with body mass index (BMI) ≥ 35 kg/m2. Obesity is the only modifiable risk factor that is not routinely treated but treatment can lead to improvement in visceral adiposity, insulin sensitivity, and mortality risk. Increasing the awareness of the association between obesity and COVID-19 risk in the general population and medical community may serve as the impetus to make obesity identification and management a higher priority.
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