COVID-19 and metabolic diseases: a heightened awareness of health inequities and a renewed focus for research priorities

Cell Metab. 2021 Mar 2;33(3):473-478. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2021.02.006. Epub 2021 Feb 8.


Chronic metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity are major public health issues in the United States. However, significant disparities in their prevalence and incidence place a greater burden on US racial and ethnic minority groups, contributing to worse COVID-19 outcomes in many. Improving treatment and prevention of diabetes and obesity is critical to the NIDDK. In this Perspective, we will review the burden of metabolic diseases in the United States, the observed disparities for metabolic diseases in relation to COVID-19, and research opportunities to address underlying causes of metabolic diseases, their associated health disparities, and COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; diabetes; mortality; obesity; race; research; social determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Research
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States / epidemiology