Severe obesity, increasing age and male sex are independently associated with worse in-hospital outcomes, and higher in-hospital mortality, in a cohort of patients with COVID-19 in the Bronx, New York

Metabolism. 2020 Jul:108:154262. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2020.154262. Epub 2020 May 16.


Background & aims: New York is the current epicenter of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The underrepresented minorities, where the prevalence of obesity is higher, appear to be affected disproportionately. Our objectives were to assess the characteristics and early outcomes of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Bronx and investigate whether obesity is associated with worse outcomes independently from age, gender and other comorbidities.

Methods: This retrospective study included the first 200 patients admitted to a tertiary medical center with COVID-19. The electronic medical records were reviewed at least three weeks after admission. The primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality.

Results: 200 patients were included (female sex: 102, African American: 102). The median BMI was 30 kg/m2. The median age was 64 years. Hypertension (76%), hyperlipidemia (46.2%), and diabetes (39.5%) were the three most common comorbidities. Fever (86%), cough (76.5%), and dyspnea (68%) were the three most common symptoms. 24% died during hospitalization (BMI < 25 kg/m2: 31.6%, BMI 25-34 kg/m2: 17.2%, BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2: 34.8%, p = 0.03). Increasing age (analyzed in quartiles), male sex, BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 (reference: BMI 25-34 kg/m2), heart failure, CAD, and CKD or ESRD were found to have a significant univariate association with mortality. The multivariate analysis demonstrated that BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 (reference: BMI 25-34 kg/m2, OR: 3.78; 95% CI: 1.45-9.83; p = 0.006), male sex (OR: 2.74; 95% CI: 1.25-5.98; p = 0.011) and increasing age (analyzed in quartiles, OR: 1.73; 95% CI: 1.13-2.63; p = 0.011) were independently associated with higher in-hospital mortality. Similarly, age, male sex, BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 and current or prior smoking were significant predictors for increasing oxygenation requirements in the multivariate analysis, while male sex, age and BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 were significant predictors in the multivariate analysis for the outcome of intubation.

Conclusions: In this cohort of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in a minority-predominant population, severe obesity, increasing age, and male sex were independently associated with higher in-hospital mortality and in general worse in-hospital outcomes.

Keywords: Bronx; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Mortality; New York; Obesity; Pandemic; Risk factor; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • Body Mass Index
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sex Factors