NYU Scientists Found that Obesity was the Largest “Chronic” Factor Behind New York City Hospitalizations
ZDNet reported on a study which determined that obesity is the single biggest factor, after age, in whether someone who contracted the Wuhan Virus had to be hospitalized.
“The chronic condition with the strongest association with critical illness was obesity, with a substantially higher odds ratio than any cardiovascular or pulmonary disease,” wrpte lead author Christopher M. Petrilli of the NYU Grossman School and colleagues in a paper, “Factors associated with hospitalization and critical illness among 4,103 patients with COVID-19 disease in New York City,” which was published April 11 on the medRxiv pre-print server.
It should be noted that the paper has not received a peer-review.
In addition to other factors, the presence of obesity in the study suggests that increased inflammation in patients could have greatly impacted those who contracted the virus.
Petrilli and colleagues at the Grossman School, in partnership with doctors at the NYU Langone Health center, observed the electronic patient records of 4,103 individuals who caught the Wuhan Virus in the New York City healthcare system between March 1 and April 2.
It is “the largest case series from the United States to date,” wrote Petrilli and colleagues.
In the researchers’ view, the purpose of the study was “understanding which patients are most at risk for hospitalization is crucial for many reasons,” which includes how to triage patients and how to prepare for medical needs.
In this case, obesity was measured as weight in relation to a person’s height. The authors used a metric scale, so a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and higher is considered obese.
Age is still the largest determinant for hospitalization. “Age is far and away the strongest risk factor for hospitalization, dwarfing the importance of obesity,” co-author Leora Horwitz told ZDNet in an email. “Obesity is the most important of the chronic conditions when considering all such conditions simultaneously.”
Doctors David S. Ludwig and Richard Malley of Boston Children’s Hospital wrote in a The New York Times piece that Americans’ risk from the virus is heightened by the fact that they are for the most part “too diseased.”
“The huge burden of obesity and other chronic conditions among Americans puts most of us at direct risk,” they wrote. “In fact, with obesity rates in the US much higher than affected countries like South Korea and China, our outcomes — economic- and health-wise — could be much worse.”
America will obviously need to get its border policies right in order to prevent future pandemics from foreign sources.
However, Americans will need to exercise more discipline in terms of their diets as a means of enhancing their quality of life and preventing themselves from being casualties of future epidemics.