Factors Associated with Increased Morbidity and Mortality of Obese and Overweight COVID-19 Patients

Biology (Basel). 2020 Sep 9;9(9):280. doi: 10.3390/biology9090280.


Overweight and obesity are defined as an unnecessary accumulation of fat, which poses a risk to health. It is a well-identified risk factor for increased mortality due to heightened rates of heart disease, certain cancers, musculoskeletal disorders, and bacterial, protozoan and viral infections. The increasing prevalence of obesity is of concern, as conventional pathogenesis may indeed be increased in obese hosts rather than healthy hosts, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is a new disease and we do not have the luxury of cumulative data. Obesity activates the development of gene induced hypoxia and adipogenesis in obese animals. Several factors can influence obesity, for example, stress can increase the body weight by allowing people to consume high amounts of food with a higher propensity to consume palatable food. Obesity is a risk factor for the development of immune-mediated and some inflammatory-mediated diseases, including atherosclerosis and psoriasis, leading to a dampened immune response to infectious agents, leading to weaker post-infection impacts. Moreover, the obese host creates a special microenvironment for disease pathogenesis, marked by persistent low-grade inflammation. Therefore, it is advisable to sustain healthy eating habits by increasing the consumption of various plant-based and low-fat foods to protect our bodies and decrease the risk of infectious diseases, especially COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; coronaviruses; influenza; obesity; thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Review