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This study assessed whether the risk of COVID-19 mortality associated with obesity was similar between men and women. The authors found that in both sexes, increased BMI, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist-to-height ratio were associated with higher mortality risk from COVID-19, influenza/pneumonia, and coronary heart disease. Also, there was an increased risk of COVID-19 death in women versus men associated with increased BMI.
This study demonstrates the relationship of obesity with mortality from COVID-19. Also, there are relative effects of increased BMI among men and women regarding the risk of death from COVID-19. The authors conclude that obesity prevention and mitigation strategies should improve COVID-19 outcomes.
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Obesity is associated with severe COVID-19 outcomes, yet, it unclear whether the risk of COVID-19 mortality associated with obesity is similar between the sexes. We used data from the UK Biobank to assess the risk of COVID-19 mortality associated with various anthropometric measures in women and men. To put these results in context, we also compared these estimates with those for mortality from influenza/pneumonia and coronary heart disease (CHD). The analyses included 502,493 individuals (54% women), of whom 410 (36% women) died of COVID-19, 549 (36% women) died of influenza/pneumonia, and 3355 (19% women) died of CHD. A higher BMI, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist-to-height ratio were each associated with a greater risk of death from COVID-19, influenza/pneumonia, and CHD in both sexes, with the exception of the association between higher BMI and the risk of influenza/pneumonia death in men. A higher BMI was associated with a stronger risk of COVID-19 mortality in women than men; the women-to-men ratio of hazard ratios was 1.20 (95% confidence interval: 1.00; 1.43). This study demonstrates the role of obesity in COVID-19 mortality and shows that the relative effects of a higher BMI on COVID-19 mortality may be stronger in women than men.