New CDC data shows that more than 35% of people in 12 states are obese

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The FINANCIAL — New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that adult obesity prevalence is increasing and racial and ethnic disparities persist. Notably, adults with obesity are at heightened risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19. The United States has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. Twelve US states now have obesity rates of at least 35 percent – more than ever before, a new map reveals.

The 2019 Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps show that twelve states now have an adult obesity prevalence at or above 35%: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. This is up from nine states in 2018 and six states in 2017. The maps break down adult obesity prevalence by race, ethnicity, and location based on self-reported height and weight data. Combined data from 2017-2019 show notable racial and ethnic disparities: 34 states and the District of Columbia had an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher among non-Hispanic Black adults; 15 states had an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher among Hispanic adults; 6 states had an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher among non-Hispanic White adults.

In addition to the maps, CDC has released a summary statement on obesity and race and ethnicity as related to COVID-19 risk. Obesity worsens outcomes from COVID-19, increasing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Obesity disproportionately impacts some racial and ethnic minority groups who are also at increased risk of COVID-19. These disparities underscore the need to remove barriers to healthy living and ensure that communities support a healthy, active lifestyle for all. While system and environment changes can take time, we can take small steps now to maintain or improve our health and protect ourselves during this pandemic. Being active and eating a healthy diet can support optimal immune function and help prevent or manage chronic diseases that worsen outcomes from COVID-19. 

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Researchers also found that middle-aged adults were about twice as likely to be dangerously overweight as young adults. Those between ages 18 and 24 had the lowest obesity rate at 18.9 percent, while the age 45 to 54 group had the highest rate at 37.6 percent. Disparities were also seen between regions of the US. For the first time in at least three years, the Midwest overtook the South as the region with the highest rate of obesity at 33.9 percent, but the South wasn’t far behind at 33.3 percent. Meanwhile the Northeast and the West sat at 29 percent and 27.4 percent, respectively.  Obesity is known as a risk factor for several chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart attack and even certain types of cancer, Daily Mail reported.

The findings may be especially concerning amid the pandemic as obesity lends worse outcomes from COVID-19, and minorities are disproportionately impacted by both the virus and obesity. Stress can make it more difficult to lose weight, while sleep deprivation can cause weight gain, Dr. Marcio Griebeler, an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic, stated. The CDC recommends seven or more hours of sleep each night for adults (those aged 18 to 60). “Unfortunately, obesity is increasing across not only the United States but also worldwide,” said Griebeler, who is also the director of the Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center with Cleveland Clinic’s Endocrinology & Metabolism Institute, according to Fox News.

Obesity can trigger an excessive immune response to the virus, which may lead to increased lung tissue damage. Abdominal obesity makes it more challenging to breathe while lying down. And while restricted breathing can lead to sleep apnea and even, metabolic dysfunction, the fact that the mortality risk more than doubles makes it unlikely that either of these mechanisms can justify the difference in outcomes, as MSN News wrote.

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Obesity makes it more difficult to vaccinate adults against influenza. Will this be the case for COVID-19 too? Evidence that obese people have a blunted response to common vaccines was first observed in 1985. Moreover, having obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The researchers found that 22 percent of obese patients were intubated, 25 percent died, and 2 percent remained hospitalized during a median hospital length of stay of seven days.

Another important information is that Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine claim they have discovered an antibody which “completely neutralises” coronavirus in what could be a major breakthrough in the hunt for a cure. Researchers claim to have isolated ‘the smallest biological molecule’ that ‘completely and specifically neutralizes’ the virus that causes coronavirus. The drug is named Ab8 and is seen as a potential preventative against SARS-CoV-2. Read more

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