Obese people found to be at increased risk of COVID-19

covid
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

A new study led by researchers at Queen Mary University of London uses a novel approach to investigate the effects of cardiovascular risk factors on the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Several have reported the link between cardiovascular risk factors (such as obesity, , diabetes and ) and COVID-19 severity. However, these studies could not ascertain the cause and effect relationship due to the observational design.

The new study, published in the science journal Frontiers in Genetics, used a novel approach called 'Mendelian Randomisation', which leveraged on the individual genetic information, to investigate the effects of cardiovascular risk factors on the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Lead author Dr. Nay Aung from Queen Mary University of London said: "Our results show that individuals with high body mass index (BMI), a marker of obesity, and high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also known as 'bad' cholesterol) are at an increased risk of getting COVID-19. Other (high blood pressure and diabetes) do not appear to elevate the COVID-19 risk.

"Our findings support the use of BMI and LDL cholesterol as important metrics alongside other known characteristics (such as age and ethnicity) in the risk assessment of vulnerability to COVID-19 infection."

The findings may have an impact on public health policy, whereby those who fall in the at risk obese category or those with extreme hyperlipidemia in the general population may require more rigorous social distancing or shielding. Furthermore, studies assessing the role for cholesterol modification therapy during illness or hospital admission could be undertaken to assess potential impact on outcomes.


Explore further

Follow the latest news on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

More information: Nay Aung et al. Causal Inference for Genetic Obesity, Cardiometabolic Profile and COVID-19 Susceptibility: A Mendelian Randomization Study, Frontiers in Genetics (2020). DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2020.586308
Citation: Obese people found to be at increased risk of COVID-19 (2020, November 16) retrieved 30 November 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-11-obese-people-covid-.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
3 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments