When Two Pandemics Meet: Why Is Obesity Associated with Increased COVID-19 Mortality?

Med. 2020 Dec 18;1(1):33-42. doi: 10.1016/j.medj.2020.06.005. Epub 2020 Jun 29.


A growing body of evidence indicates that obesity is strongly and independently associated with adverse outcomes of COVID-19, including death. By combining emerging knowledge of the pathological processes involved in COVID-19 with insights into the mechanisms underlying the adverse health consequences of obesity, we present some hypotheses regarding the deleterious impact of obesity on the course of COVID-19. These hypotheses are testable and could guide therapeutic and preventive interventions. As obesity is now almost ubiquitous and no vaccine for COVID-19 is currently available, even a modest reduction in the impact of obesity on mortality and morbidity from this viral infection could have profound consequences for public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pandemics*
  • Public Health
  • SARS-CoV-2