Obesity reduces Covid-19 survival chances

20 Aug, 2021 - 00:08 0 Views
Obesity reduces Covid-19 survival chances

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S urban population is at higher risk of dying from Covid-19 because of an increase in obesity.
After old age, obesity causes the most deaths from the virus.

In March, a report suggested that the majority of global Covid-19 deaths have been in countries where many people are obese, with coronavirus fatality rates 10 times higher in nations where at least 50 percent of adults are overweight.

The study analysed the Covid-19 death figures from Johns Hopkins University in the United States and the World Health Organisation’s Global Health Observatory data on obesity.

The report, which described a “dramatic” correlation between countries’ Covid-19 death and obesity rates, found that 90 percent or 2.2 million of the 2.5 million deaths from the pandemic disease so far were in countries with high levels of obesity.

Most people who die from Covid-19 have underlying conditions that include diabetes and hypertension.

These are common in people who are overweight.

People living in urban areas are at a higher risk of obesity and hypertension based on their usually sedentary lifestyles.

Eating a healthier diet with less salt, exercising regularly and taking medication can help lower blood pressure and these lifestyle-related behaviours have been proven to be effective in preventing and treating hypertension.

The study shows that obesity that is not managed can lead to high blood pressure which can lead to impaired vision, severe headache, chest pain and difficulty in breathing and ultimately, an increased likelihood to die from a Covid-19 infection.

These problems can complicate and cause heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, blindness, rupture of blood vessels followed by paralysis and death.

Such complications are preventable through regular exercise and a healthier diet that reduce risk of obesity.

While addressing the Third Stage Food Systems Pre-Summit virtually on Wednesday, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka said Zimbabwe is facing increased prevalence of obesity and associated diseases, particularly among the urban populations.

“After age, obesity has been shown as the second most important predictor of Covid-19 mortality.

“The urban young population now shuns traditional foods and yet these are healthy foods.

“We must publicise and promote these traditional foods,” said Minister Masuka.

He said there is need to promote healthy eating among Zimbabweans.

“There is need for dietary diversification to incorporation dense food sources.

“Evidence is increasing that much of our food sources and food processing such as fermenting are actually healthier,” said Minister Masuka.

The Government of Zimbabwe and the UN System have rolled out a series of national and provincial dialogues on Food Systems as part of the preparation for the global Food Systems Summit, which will take place at the UN General Assembly in September in New York.

Obesity is a disorder involving excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems.

Obesity often results from taking in more calories than are burned by exercise and normal daily activities.

Obesity occurs when a person’s body mass index (BMI) is 30 or greater.

The main symptom is excessive body fat, which increases the risk of serious health problems. — Follow on Twitter @bonganinkunzi

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