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Recent studies point to obesity as a risk factor for COVID-19 hospitalizations

The United States has one of the highest obesity rates in the world

ATLANTA — Recent studies point to obesity as a risk factor for COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S., a significant finding as our nation has one of the highest obesity rates in the world.  

A new CDC report breaks down the number of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 at eight different hospitals in Georgia. Nearly 40 percent have diabetes, 12.7 percent have severe obesity, those with hypertension are at 67.5 percent. Those with some type of cardiovascular disease are at 25.6 percent. 

The report also shows one in four did not have a high risk condition, yet are hospitalized with the virus.

"Just because you're healthy, doesn't mean you're guaranteed safety against COVID-19," Dr. Sujatha Reddy, 11Alive medical correspondent, said. 

RELATED: CDC names six new symptoms of coronavirus

While the percentage of patients hospitalized with severe obesity is relatively low, Dr. Reddy said some might not know they have any other underlying conditions. 

“It’s possible that especially younger patients who may not go to the doctor very often, if they are obese they may be pre-diabetic, or diabetic or have high blood pressure and be unaware and that may complicate their course if they contract COVID-19," she added.

Dr. Reddy also said obesity can cause strain on your heart and lungs. 

“If their lungs and heart are being affected by obesity, the added strain of COVID-19 may be making them at increased risk for hospitalizations and complications," she said, adding that we should be aware of the risk here. 

“Our obesity rates are higher in the South, so I do think we need to be a little more concerned about our COVID19 patients, because that’s one risk factor for them," she said. 

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

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