The Obesity Action Coalition shared that like many health topics in the world right now, the topic of obesity is one that is surrounded by many perceptions. These perceptions form opinions and shape the way we understand obesity from healthcare to pop culture.
One relevant example in the world right now is the relationship between obesity and Coronavirus (COVID-19). With lots of talk about risk factors and complications, many think that simply having obesity makes you more likely to contract the virus.
This perception isn’t true. What is true is that it casts more judgment about obesity as “one of the worst conditions you can have.”
Challenging Obesity Perceptions
Throughout the coming weeks, OAC will be taking a closer look at common perceptions of obesity and then challenge them, starting with obesity and Coronavirus. We’ll present the science and research to give a better understanding of obesity through education.
Perception #1: Obesity Raises the Risk of Developing COVID-19
This perception is FALSE. If you have excess weight or obesity, you are NOT at an increased risk for developing COVID-19. However, you MAY be at risk for experiencing more severe symptoms and complications.
Having obesity alone does not make you more likely to get COVID-19. People of all ages and health statuses can get it. Factors that DO affect your risk include:
- Basic hygiene (hand-washing and sanitizing)
- Covering your mouth to prevent airborne spread
- Adherence to social distancing
However, for someone who has already been infected with COVID-19, the presence of obesity-related conditions can contribute to or worsen symptoms and complications:
- Cardiac Disease
- Respiratory conditions (Sleep Apnea, COPD)
If you have obesity and/or obesity-related conditions, you should take all possible precautions to avoid infection (just like anybody). If you suspect you may have developed COVID-19, you should speak to a healthcare provider about any symptoms or concerns.