Overweight man: the perfect victim of the COVID-19

In Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in Paris, London or New York, the question arises time and time again: why does the coronavirus seem to target the obese male population so much?

According to Dr. Matthieu Schmidt, from the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, they find in France a very large proportion of patients who are overweight or obese (three-quarters of them are men), specifies this doctor. Besides, Dr. Hani Sbitany of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York indicates that 80% of hospitalized patients may be men. Moreover, in London, Professor Derek Hill of University College also notes that more men than women are affected by severe forms of the disease caused by the coronavirus, adding that overweight or troubled patients are at greater risk.

British statistics on COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU confirm this phenomenon: 73% are men and 73.4% are overweight or obese. This count, established on April 3 by the independent organization ICNARC, suggests that overweight patients are significantly less likely to cope after going through the ICU: 42.4% of obese patients ―with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30―, survive against 56.4% of those who have a medium or low weight ―BMI less than 25―.

In this way, the most immediate explanation for the greater involvement in overweight patients is the higher frequency of diabetes and hypertension among people with obesity. Both are aggravating factors of COVID-19, clearly identified in China and Italy, as well as age and, to a lesser extent, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

Editorial Disclaimer: information published during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic may be updated frequently to reflect the dynamic nature of current understanding.

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