Important new research: Obesity and COVID-19

Important new research: Obesity and COVID-19

We are pleased to interview Professor Sébastien Czernichow, M.D., Ph.D. Université de Paris, lead author of the new paper Obesity doubles mortality in patients hospitalized for SARS-CoV-2 in Paris hospitals, France: a cohort study on 5795 patients. Professor Czernichow, thank you for joining us to discuss your research.

Previous research, both in France and in other countries, has looked at preliminary data from different cohorts with small sample sizes of patients with obesity hospitalised for COVID-19. This research, which is a substantial size, has universally indicated poorer prognosis of negative outcomes from SARS-CoV2 for people living with obesity when compared with other patients.

Professor Czernichow, please tell us about your new research. What is unique in your approach?

We have been able to use a database on a large sample of patients (n= 5795) hospitalised in Paris area university hospitals (Assistance Publique – Hôpital de Paris) with a confirmed infection for COVID-19 between February 1st and April 30th 2020. We have shown that the odds ratio associated with mortality at 30 days (n=891) in groups with different BMI ranges (30-35 BMI, 35-40 BMI and >40 kg/m2) compared with lower BMI (below the obesity BMI threshold) was as follows: 1.89 (95%CI: 1.45-2.47), 2.79 (1.95-3.97) and 2.55 (1.62-3.95), respectively. These results were independent of known cardiometabolic risk factors, age and gender.

Thank you. Given this data, what can patient and clinical communities learn from this new paper?

Our study provides substantial evidence to confirm that people with obesity indeed represent a medically vulnerable population for serious consequences with COVID-19 infection, and that standard protective measures against viral infections are of real importance. These data are also in line with what was observed almost a decade ago during the H1N1 epidemic (Fezeu et al. Obesity Rev 2011).

The article is available open access in Obesity: