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Tipsheet

CDC Study Shows The Majority of Teens Hospitalized with COVID-19 Have ‘Severe’ Obesity

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that a majority of teenagers hospitalized with the Wuhan coronavirus are severly obese.

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The study, released on Friday, sampled 915 patients ages 12 to 17 from six hospitals in “areas with high COVID-19 incidence.” The areas were Arkansas, Washington, D.C., Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, and Texas. 

Among the sample, a majority of patients, 61.4 percent, were obese. Among this amount, 60.5 percent had “severe obesity,” as an underlying condition, which is a body mass index (BMI) exceeding 40. A BMI over 30 qualifies as “obese.”

“Approximately two thirds of patients hospitalized for COVID-19, including 83% and 88% of patients aged 5-11 and 12-17 years, respectively, had one or more underlying medical conditions,” the study claims. “Approximately two thirds of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 aged 12-17 years had obesity. Compared with patients without obesity, those with obesity required higher levels and longer duration of care. These findings are consistent with previous reports and highlight the importance of obesity and other medical conditions as risk factors for severe COVID-19 in children and adolescents.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has mentioned previously that obesity is a problem in the COVID-19 pandemic. Last March, Fauci said in an interview with Hugh Hewitt that obese people are suspectible to COVID-19, noting the “mechanical movement of the diaphram to expand and contract your lungs” is a struggle for people who are obese as “they don’t have the capability of easily inhaling and exhaling becuase of teh constraints on their plasticity of the lung.”

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“The other thing I believe,” Fauci added “is that obese people, particularly morbidly obese people, have a much higher rate of the other underlying comorbidities, which get a serious outcome. That's diabetes, hypertension, heart disease — the incidents in a morbidly obese person of those other diseases is much higher than the general population.”

In August 2020, Fauci said Americans tend to have underlying health conditions, like obesity, that would escalate the COVID-19 death toll numbers to “unacceptable” levels if we let the virus spread uncontrollably. 

“If you look at the United States of America with our epidemic of obesity as it were, with the number of people with hypertension, with the number of people with diabetes, if everyone got infected, the death toll would be enormous and totally unacceptable,” he said.

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