None of us ever imagined that we would be in the middle of a pandemic with no end in sight. Our 2-week shutdown to “flatten the curve” has turned in to several months. COVID-19 has completely affected every facet of our lives. By now, either you have had it or know people who have. At this point, it looks as though we may have to learn how to live with COVID-19 and do our best to take care of our health and immune systems so that if, and when we get it, we can recover. We may also be looking at a situation with COVID-19 that is similar to the flu, in which there may be different strains of it as the virus mutates. In fact, it has already mutated at least once. On a positive note, we are learning more and more about the virus, what causes people to be more at risk for negative outcomes and ways to manage the effects of the virus for better outcomes.
One of the biggest factors that influence negative outcomes with COVID-19 is obesity and the related health issues that go along with it, including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Obesity statistics in the United States are staggering and continue to climb. The latest research shows 43% of adults are obese and 19% of children and adolescents are obese (1. 2.). The cost of obesity is estimated at 190 Billon dollars per year which is 21% of the US annual medical spending (3.) 10% of our population has type 2 diabetes and 33% are prediabetic (4.). 45% of Americans meet the diagnostic criteria for high blood pressure (5.).
According to the CDC, obesity increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. In fact, as BMI increases, the risk of death due to COVID-19 increases (6.) A research study published in the Obesity Review looked at 399,000 patients and found that people who were obese and had COVID-19 were “113% more likely than people of healthy weight to land in the hospital, 74% more likely to be admitted to be admitted to an ICU and 48% more likely to die.” (7.) Not only are obese people at risk, but some research is also showing the people who are overweight may increase their risk as well (6.).
Why are obese people more at risk for negative COVID-19 outcomes?
We know that the immune system plays a vital role in fighting off bacterial and viral infections. Research shows that obesity is linked to impaired immune function (6.). Your immune system is your first line of defense and if not functioning properly, leaves you open to not only getting COVID-19 but decreases your body’s ability to fight off the virus. In addition, obesity can make ventilation more difficult due to decreased lung capacity and reserve (6.). Unfortunately, certain racial and ethnic minority groups have higher rates of obesity and therefore have higher rates of negative outcomes due to COVID-19 (6.)
Obesity is a complex issue that often has many causes. We live in a fast-paced society that does not get enough sleep or exercise, relies on convenience foods, is addicted to sugar, carbohydrates and alcohol and lacks positive coping skills. Our food sources are largely comprised of GMO foods that are lacking in nutrition. In addition, we have lost our reliance on ourselves and our ability to make the decisions that largely make up our health status. Our society has been brainwashed into taking a pill for everything and to rely on outside things to “fix” whatever is wrong.
Now, more than any other time in our history, working towards a healthy weight can mean the difference between life and death. One positive thing that has come from COVID-19 is that people are waking up to the fact that they MUST be more proactive with their health rather than reactive. Making positive choices for your health and immune system will pay off with dividends in the long run.
At Trinity Chiropractic, we want to be a part of your proactive health and wellness routine. We offer a doctor supervised weight loss program to help you work towards a healthy weight. This program is a low fat, low carbohydrate diet only available through licensed healthcare practitioners, that helps you lose fat, maintain muscle mass, stabilize your blood sugar, and improve your health. Call us at 602-603-5444 to learn when our next workshop is scheduled for or to learn more about the program.