To request Mental Health
Services or to access Mental
Health Crisis Services Call:

Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Do Immune-Based Cancer Drugs Work Better in Men?Gene Found in Amish Helps Protect Their HeartsOmicron May Overcome Prior COVID InfectionWindy Days Are Safer Days When It Comes to COVID-19Most Vaccinated Adults Plan to Get Boosters: PollStudy Finds Delta Somewhat Resistant to Vaccines — What About Omicron?Is the Mumps Vaccine Becoming Less Effective?Vaping Can Trigger Gene Changes in Cells: StudyPfizer or Moderna? Head-to-Head Study Shows One Shot Has an EdgeSurvivors of Severe COVID Face Doubled Risk for Death a Year LaterNearly 7% of U.S. Kids Have Had a Head Injury or ConcussionFirst U.S. Omicron Case Reported in CaliforniaCDC to Toughen COVID Testing for International TravelersCertain Blood Thinners Can Raise Risk of 'Delayed' Bleeding After Head InjuryFDA Panel Gives Support to Merck's COVID Antiviral PillLong-Haul COVID Can Include Chronic Fatigue: StudyVaccines, Boosters Should Protect Against Severe COVID, Even With Omicron: FauciPfizer to Seek FDA Approval of Boosters for Teens Ages 16-17Regeneron Says Its Antibody Cocktail Likely Weakened by Omicron VariantCOVID May Trigger Heart Condition in Young AthletesMany People With High Blood Pressure May Take a Drug That Worsens It: StudyBiden Pushes Vaccines, Masks as Best Defense Against Omicron VariantHow Easily Can Singing Spread COVID-19?New Insights Into What Might Drive Parkinson's DiseaseHot Days Can Send Even Younger Folks to the ERMerck's COVID Pill Appears Effective, But May Pose Pregnancy Risks: FDAVaccine Makers Already Testing Their Shots Against Omicron VariantWhat Experts Know About the Omicron 'Variant of Concern'What You Need to Know About Stomach CancerFetal Infection With COVID-19 Possible, But UnlikelyRural Hospitals' ERs Just as Effective as Urban Ones: StudyBoosters: What You Need to KnowAHA News: Pulmonary Embolism Is Common and Can Be Deadly, But Few Know the SignsAlmost 1 in Every 3 College-Age Americans Are Now ObeseAnimal Study Offers Hope for a Vaccine Against Lyme DiseaseAddictive Opioid Painkillers Might Not Be Needed After Knee SurgeryYears of Blood Thinners After Stenting Might Not Be NecessaryU.S. COVID Cases, Hospitalizations on the Rise Just Before ThanksgivingVaping Could Weaken Your Bones, Study FindsWearable Vibration Device May Ease Parkinson's TremorPfizer Says Its COVID Vaccine Provides Full Protection to AdolescentsBooster Shots Prompt Stronger, Longer Protection Than Original Shots: StudyTV Remotes, Nurse Call Buttons: Where Coronavirus Lingers in Nursing HomesBlood Pressure During Surgery May Be Crucial After Spinal Cord InjuryPeople on Immune-Suppressing Meds Fare Equally Well With Severe COVIDDelta Variant Ups Risk of Stillbirth, Death During Pregnancy, Reports ShowAre You at Risk for Stress Urinary Incontinence?AHA News: Getting Better Overall Sleep Might Be the Key to Better HealthCDC Panel Backs Pfizer, Moderna Boosters for All AdultsNeurologists' Group Issues New Treatment Guidelines for Early Parkinson's
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Men's Health
Women's Health

Even With Mild COVID, Obesity May Mean Worse Symptoms

HealthDay News
by By Steven Reinberg HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 20th 2021

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Obese people have a tougher time fighting COVID-19, even if they have a milder form of the virus, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at more than 500 patients who tested positive for COVID but didn't require hospitalization. Teens and adults who were overweight or obese had more symptoms, including cough and shortness of breath, than those of normal weight.

"Even when infected with similar amounts of virus, overweight and obesity are risk factors for greater severity of COVID-19 symptoms," said lead researcher Dr. Pia Pannaraj, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

"COVID-19 vaccination of all individuals, and especially those with overweight and obesity, is important to prevent severe COVID-19," she added.

Obesity can lead to more severe COVID-19 because it's tied with other conditions known to make people sicker if they catch the virus, Pannaraj said. "Individuals with obesity may have the beginnings of diabetes, heart disease or other chronic diseases before it can be detected," she added.

Losing weight may help ward off COVID-19 and make it less life-threatening should you get it, Pannaraj said. "Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with healthy eating and exercise is beneficial for many reasons," she said. "Being able to fight off infections such as COVID-19 is just one more reason."

About two-thirds of the participants in this new study were overweight or obese -- similar to U.S. and worldwide rates, the authors noted.

The researchers found that COVID severity in children under 12 was not affected by excess weight. But for teens and adults, they uncovered a different story.

The overweight or obese participants had more symptoms than normal-weight individuals (three vs. two), including more cough and shortness of breath.

Overweight or obese teens were more likely to have symptoms than normal-weight teens (67% vs. 34%) and they had longer lasting respiratory symptoms (median 7 days vs. 4 days), compared with normal-weight teens, the researchers found.

The data confirms the benefit of COVID-19 vaccines for overweight and obese teens and adults, Pannaraj's team concluded.

One expert not part of the study, Dr. Nicholas Kman, pointed out that even vaccinated patients can get a mild case of COVID-19.

"We also know that when the immune system is compromised, like in severe obesity, we don't mount as good a response to the vaccine," said Kman, an emergency medicine physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

"This is why it is important for patients with risk factors, like elderly age and obesity, to get the booster vaccine when it is their turn," he said. "The best thing an unvaccinated patient, with or without risk factors, can do is get the vaccine and then work on those healthy lifestyle changes."

Dr. David Katz is president of True Health Initiative, which promotes healthy living as the best way to prevent disease. He said that throughout the pandemic, COVID-19 has targeted select groups.

"Even before a pandemic was declared, data from China and South Korea indicated that SARS-CoV-2 was not a one-size-fits-all threat," said Katz, who wasn't involved with the study.

Advanced age and chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity, were associated with elevated risks of severe infection, Katz said. This pattern persisted as COVID-19 spread around the world, leading to marked differences in hospitalization and deaths among populations.

This paper expands that view of variable risk for worse outcomes to include those with milder disease, Katz said.

"It also reminds that the slow-motion pandemics of obesity and chronic illness have made the acute COVID pandemic far worse than it needed to be, both among those hospitalized, and even among those with milder disease," he said.

"These findings add to the already compelling case for defending against the threat of acute pandemics by doing far more to promote general good health, including healthy weight, for the population at large," Katz said.

The report was published Oct. 20 in the journal Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.

More information

For more on COVID-19 and obesity, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Pia Pannaraj, MD, MPH, pediatric infectious disease specialist, Children's Hospital Los Angeles; David Katz, MD, MPH, president, True Health Initiative; Nicholas Kman, MD, emergency medicine physician, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus; Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, Oct. 20, 2021