A SPANISH scientist has warned that obesity could be behind Spain and Italy’s high coronavirus mortality rates.
Francisco Tinahones, president of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (SEEDO), said this could be why some Meditteranean nations have fared worse than China or South Korea.
He said there was ‘some evidence’ to support this explanation of why COVID-19 claimed the lives of 23,521 in Spain yet less than 5,000 in the two Asian countries put together.
“There are several articles that already clearly show that subjects with obesity are more at risk of dying and needing intensive care, even more so in those who are morbidly obese” he said.
Morbidly obese coronavirus patients – those with a BMI of over 40 – are twice as likely to experience complications and be put on a ventilator as those who are are a ‘healthy weight’ – those whose BMI is between 19-25.
The risk of morbidly obese patients needing artificial assitance breathing is 86%, while it is 60% for obese people (those with a BMI of 30 or more) and 47% for people who are a ‘healthy weight’.
Tianhones stressed that obese people are likely to experience increased inflamation and have a ‘decreased lung capacity’, which make them more susceptible to COVID-19.
Around 25% of the Spanish population is overweight or obese, with 131,000 deaths attributed to the diseases every year.