88% of the 2.5 million COVID-19 deaths take place in countries where a majority of adults are classified as overweight, according to a new World Obesity Forum study.
- Covid-19 mortality rates increased along with countries’ prevalence of obesity—even after age and wealth adjustments, the researchers found, drawing on Johns Hopkins University and WHO mortality data for 160 countries through February 2021, CNN reports.
- Countries with a minority of overweight adults had Covid-19 death rates no higher than 10 people per 100,000, compared to more than 100 per 100,000 in countries where 50% or more adults are overweight—like the US, where nearly three-quarters of the population is either overweight or obese.
Trend-Bucking Countries: New Zealand, Australia and several Gulf states stand out for having higher prevalence of overweight adults (over 60%) but relatively low reported COVID deaths—which the study authors connect to stronger national pandemic responses.
The World Obesity Forum suggests prioritizing those living with obesity for Covid-19 testing and vaccination.