Based on a report published in NEJM Journal Watch, two retrospective studies showed higher risk for death in obese patients.
Nearly half of the adult U.S. population is classified as obese (body-mass index [BMI], ≥30 kg/m2) and almost 10% are classified as severely obese (BMI, ≥40 kg/m2); observational studies have suggested that obesity is associated with worse outcomes in patients with COVID-19. Two new studies address this association.
The first study included nearly 2500 patients (mean age, 67; 49% Hispanic) hospitalized with COVID-19 at two New York City hospitals. Analysis adjusted for demographic factors and medical comorbidities showed that obese patients, compared with overweight patients, had significantly higher risk for the composite outcome of intubation or death at 45 days (hazard ratio, 1.6). The association of obesity with adverse outcomes was seen in patients younger than 65 but not in older patients.
The second study included ≈7000 hospitalized patients (mean age, 49; 54% Hispanic) at nine California Kaiser Permanente hospitals. After adjustment for relevant demographic and comorbid factors, severely obese patients had significantly higher 21-day mortality than did normal-weight individuals (relative risk, >3). Risk was most pronounced in younger patients (age, <60) and in men.