Obesity and covid 19

Obesity and Disease

Losing Body Fat (Adipose Tissue) as Beneficial to Fight COVID-19

COVID-19 is more deadly in overfat individuals, according to a recent Science article. This is my thought:

If you want to protect yourself from catching COVID-19 and potential death from it, losing body fat (adipose tissue) doesn’t hurt.

Let me explain further in depth:

The studies

First this study (non peer reviewed):

Descriptive epidemiology of 16,780 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the United States

Shemra Rizzo, Devika Chawla, Kelly Zalocusky, Daniel Keebler, Jenny Chia, Lisa Lindsay, Vincent Yau, Tripthi Kamath, Larry Tsai:


74.5% of the cohort is over the age of 50, and 77.2% of the patients were overweight or obese.

Read more in PDF. The obesity break down (according to Body Mass Index, BMI):

According to the study, 48% of the patients who are obese. Now this is tricky, because here is the nuance:

2.6% of patients were underweight (BMI of less than 18.5) and 20.2% of the patients were “normal BMI” (18.5-25).

Once again, people with “normal” body mass index (BMI) can still catch and get COVID (and die from it).

What is BMI? A calculation of your body mass index (height vs your weight):

BMI calculations are good insofar much as it factors in your height and weight. However BMI is bad because it isn’t useful to classify elite athletes or football players (technically Dwayne the Rock Johnson is “overweight” and has an “unhealthy” BMI … but he has high muscle mass and low body fat). Adolphe Quetelet (1800s) as pioneer in the field.

Metabolic Syndrome and COVID-
19 Mortality Among Adult Black
Patients in New Orleans [PDF]

Another angle:

Studying individuals and populations with “metabolic syndrome” (effectively anyone with Type 2 or Type 3 Diabetes) and seeing if there is a link with metabolic disease and morbidity with COVID-19.

To quote the study in terms of their methods for this observational study (MetS is short for metabolic syndrome):

“Patients were divided into two co- horts, MetS and non-MetS, according to modified World Health Organization criteria (13). MetS was defined as having at least three of the following five factors: 1) prediabetes (hemoglobin A1c $5.7%) or documented history of diabetes or diabetic medication use, 2) obesity (BMI $30 kg/m2), 3) history of hyper- tension or antihypertensive medication use, 4) TG $150 mg/dL, and 5) HDL ,50 mg/dL for women and ,40 mg/dL for men or use of a cholesterol-lowering medication with documented history of hypercholesterolemia.”

The study concluded individuals with diabetes or metabolic disease had a 4x greater odds of severe and fatal health related outcomes concerning COVID-19. In other words:

If you are overfat, obese, and/or have metabolic syndrome or metabolic disease… you might have a 4x greater risk of death or extreme illness from COVID-19.

To quote the study some more:

This suggests that MetS should be considered a composite predictor of COVID-19 lethal outcome, increasing the odds of mortality by the combined effects of its individual components.”

Lethal outcomes are bad. Anything you can do to hedge the lethality (lose body fat, lose adipose tissue) is good.

Individuals with obesity and COVID‐19: A global perspective on the epidemiology and biological relationships

Via Wiley:

The physiological pathways:

If you’re obese, your metabolism is weak, your immune system is weaker, and you often have “sleep apnea” (harder time to breathe while sleeping as an obese person… note how many overfat individuals have a respirator to sleep at night).

Also the problem — COVID-19 is worse in over fat and obese men:

Men also experience a higher burden of COVID‐19 than women.59 Being a man with obesity increases aromatase activity, which can convert testosterone to estradiol.

You can still catch COVID-19 if you got a 6-pack

The tricky thing:

Just because you’re super buff and ripped (less than 10% body fat) doesn’t mean you cannot catch COVID-19 (and might potentially die from it).

However the nuance:

If you are over-fat (my definition is above 20% body fat in men, and over 30% body fat in women), you are more likely to catch viruses (being overfat weakens your immune system).

Being overfat doesn’t mean you will catch more diseases or catch COVID

Once again let us be hard. There is a huuuuuge difference between correlation and causation. Just because you’re overfat doesn’t mean your fatness will cause you to catch COVID or whatever infectious disease. These studies show that obesity and being overfat is correlated to higher hospitalization rates, and higher chances of death.

The personal pragmatics of the matter

In simple words:

If you want to protect yourself from catching COVID 19 or catching it and dying from it, strive to lose more body fat (adipose tissue).

Easiest way to lose body fat:

  1. Intermittent fasting (no breakfast, no lunch, only dinner). In praise of one huge meal a day (eat only meat, eggs, and bitter dark leafy greens).
  2. Quit sugar, alcohol, beer, wine, etc.
  3. Quit weed. Weed gives you the “munchies” which are deleterious in terms of getting hungry late at night and gorging on potato chips, ice cream, and other sugary things.
  4. Disassociate yourself from individuals who you consider have “poor” lifestyle habits. Obesity is mostly a social phenomenon (if your friend loves to eat donuts, ice cream and pizza … so will you).
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