Because obesity is associated with reduced cardiac, respiratory function, kidney pathology and other comorbid conditions, it gives rise to the poor outcome that many obese patients have when infected with COVID-19. Worse yet, obese people generally seem to respond poorly to vaccinations and antiviral treatments2. Dr Riekie Smit elaborates further…
The definition of obesity is that of one having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI is calculated with a simple formula of weight (kg), divided by height (m) squared. BMI calculators are also easily accessible online2.
However, the abovementioned shouldn’t be the only guideline used, as one’s waist circumference is another really important factor of health problems. A high-risk waistline is over 80cm for women, with over 94cm for men. These measurements indicate an increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other conditions2.
In fact, adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at a greater risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, including being overweight and obese3.
Cause and effect
Obesity, as well as its comorbid diseases, affects immunity and one’s body’s ability to recover from illnesses. It is also associated with a depressed immune system and chronic low-grade inflammation in the body2.
Furthermore, researchers have established the likelihood that the presence of excess fat or adipose tissue could increase transmission of the virus between organs – and could possibly fuel viral load and drive disease severity4.
Obesity is a disaster that requires urgent intervention2 – this includes becoming educated on:
- Why maintaining a healthy weight is important
- The importance of a healthy diet
- Nutrition and portion sizes
- The benefits of exercise
It is also vital to know what assistance is out there is to help with losing weight – possible weight loss programmes, medications, apps and other services that are available to assist2.
If you are worried about your weight or require any further information, speak to your doctor for advice about how to lose or manage your weight.
Go to www.ilivelite.co.za for more information to check your BMI and weight circumference, as well as gaining access to professionally developed dietary guidelines (which feature different meal plans to suit various lifestyles and energy requirements).
DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. This editorial has content that includes independent comments and opinions from independent healthcare providers and are the opinions and experiences of that particular healthcare provider which are not necessarily that of iNova Pharmaceuticals.
Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.
Written by Dr Riekie Smit
MBChB, MSc Sports Med, Adv Dip Aesth Med
- Dr Smit has a private practice in Pretoria, South Africa. The focus of her practice is aesthetic medical procedures for face, body and skin treatments www.drriekie.co.za
- Honorary secretary of AAMSSA (Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Medicine Society of South Africa).
- A faculty member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine.
- Chairperson of the Aesthetic Medicine Congress South Africa (AMCSA).
- President member of the International Union of Aesthetic Union.
A2 Disclaimer: This article is published for information purposes only, nor should it be regarded as a replacement for sound medical advice.
This article was written by Dr Riekie Smit and edited by the A2 team EXCLUSIVELY for the A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine Autumn 2020 Edition (Issue 36 – Mar 2021 to Jun 2021).
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1World Obesity Day – The mission of World Obesity Day (2021) at https://www.worldobesityday.org/ (website accessed on 1 Feb 2021)
2Q&A with Dr Riekie Smit – 26 January 2021 (unpaid)
3Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – People with Certain Medical Conditions (2021) at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html (website accessed on 1 Feb 2021)
4Dhanraj.P et al. The impact of obesity on the cellular and molecular pathophysiology of COVID-19. Department of Immunology, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, SAMRC Extramural Unit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa. As published in the SAMJ (23 November 2020) at http://www.samj.org.za/index.php/samj/article/view/13184 (website accessed on 3 Feb 2021)