You don’t need to look far on the internet to find a recurring theme linking obesity to Covid deaths. The Guardian is highlighting a landmark report confirming that countries like the UK and the US have the highest rates of Covid deaths because they have the highest rates of obesity – prompting a call to prioritise overweight people for vaccinations.
Here are the startling figures:
Of the 2.5 million deaths from Covid, 2.2 million were in countries with high levels of overweight people, according to the World Obesity Federation. The UK, US and Italy, where more than 50% of adults are deemed overweight, have the biggest proportions of deaths linked to coronavirus.
What constitutes ‘overweight’?
Part of the problem is that we have come to accept ‘overweight’ as normal, and ‘obese’ as overweight. Death rates are 10 times higher in those countries where more than half the adults had a BMI of more than 25kg/m2 – the point at which normal weight becomes overweight.
Who has suffered worst?
In countries where statistically, more than 50% of the adult population is overweight, Belgium has suffered the highest death rate, followed by Slovenia and the UK, with Italy and Portugal 5th and 6th, and the US 8th.
And the best?
In vivid contrast, Vietnam has lowest level of overweight people in their population and the second lowest Covid death rate in the world. According to the head of the WHO, this report must act as a wake-up call to governments globally to tackle obesity.
The next global pandemic?
For several years now, health experts have been referring to obesity as the next global pandemic, including Dr. Tim Lobstein, the report’s author: “We now know that an overweight population is the next pandemic waiting to happen,” said Lobstein. Interestingly, the report demonstrated that the link between obesity and Covid deaths is global, irrespective of socio-economic conditions.
Governments across the world have certainly neglected their responsibility in promoting healthier living, and this latest pandemic has been a sober reminder of that negligence, in both the loss of life and the economic consequences - which in itself has direct and indirect health consequences to the general population.
We can blame governments, but people taking personal responsibility for their health has got to be the way forward. We need to see past the perpetual cheap food promotions like supermarket ‘2 for 1’deals, and the vast marketing budgets used to promote foods packed with refined sugars and/or saturated fats. Our common sense tells us that ‘live’ food like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds will promote healthier living, and equally, that refined and processed foods will promote poor health
10 Tips for healthier living:
If the thought of dieting fills you with dread then try instead, making some simple changes to your daily eating habits and see your health improve
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