New Delhi: Countries with a higher proportion of overweight people have the highest Covid-19 death rate, a new report has found.
The report, published by the World Obesity Federation this week, noted that the risk of death from the virus was 10 times higher in countries where the population is overweight.
Furthermore, at least 2.2 million deaths out of the 2.5 million deaths reported due to Covid by the end of February 2021 were in countries with more number of overweight people, it added.
The report demonstrated how being overweight is a “highly significant predictor” of developing complications from coronavirus. This includes the need to be hospitalised, intensive care or mechanical ventilations.
It further noted that being overweight was also a “predictor” of death due to Covid-19.
Countries such as the UK, US and Italy, where more than 50 per cent of adults are overweight, have the biggest proportions of deaths linked to coronavirus, according to the report.
The World Obesity Federation researchers assessed mortality data from Johns Hopkins University and the World Health Organization from more than 160 countries.
They found that mortality rates of Covid-19 increased with obesity and every country with less than 40 per cent of an overweight population had a low death rate — less than 10 people per 1,00,000.
Meanwhile, in countries with more than 50 per cent of an overweight population, the Covid-19 death was more than 100 per 1,00,000.
However, the report also noted that these figures could be influenced by “the ability of a country to control its borders and by the speed by which the virus and its variants spread through populations and into more remote areas”.
The report asserted that its findings had “serious public health implications” since being overweight increases likelihood of infectious diseases that lead to serious consequences.
It further noted that Covid-19 wasn’t the first respiratory viral infection which was aggravated by weight. Data from H1N1 influenza outbreak, MERS and others also showed ‘worse outcomes’ that were linked to increased body weight.
“An overweight population is an unhealthy population, and a pandemic waiting to happen,” the report said.