Connecting unhealthy lifestyles to COVID-19 deaths
The American Journal of Medicine has published an article recognizing the link between unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and the one million COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Dr. Carl "Chip" Lavie, Medical Director Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute was a senior author on this manuscript.
In 2022, the United States surpassed one million COVID-19 related deaths. The publication states there is a significant association between unhealthy behaviors and conditions such as low physical activity, obesity, diabetes and smoking, and poorer outcomes from COVID-19 infections.
"Clinicians have long been aware of the link between increased mortality rates and unhealthy lifestyles," said Dr. Lavie. "Individuals who live sedentary lives with poor eating habits and multiple chronic conditions are always more prone to negative health outcomes."
The article explains that the current state of health outcomes has been building for decades and should be considered a syndemic, which is the simultaneous occurrence of two prevalent health conditions or endemics. In this article, the authors compare geographic maps of the Unites States outlining COVID-19 deaths, several lifestyle behaviors, obesity, and chronic conditions. With this, a pattern is evident and quite alarming for medical professionals.
"The reality of this comparison should be quite eye-opening for many," said Lavie. "The only way to combat the syndemic we are experiencing is to promote healthy lifestyles and address the health needs of all, especially those in underserved communities who have been disproportionately impacted by poor outcomes related to chronic conditions and COVID-19."
More information: Ross Arena et al, Mapping One Million COVID-19 Deaths and Unhealthy Lifestyle Behaviors in the United States: Recognizing the Syndemic Pattern and Taking Action, The American Journal of Medicine (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2022.06.006