While obesity can lead to a slew of ailments in one’s body, a new study has found that COVID-19 patients who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop a more severe infection.

This is in comparison to the patients of healthy weight, and overweight people suffering COVID-19 require oxygen and invasive mechanical ventilation more often.

The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Diabetes Care’.

While obese people are at a higher risk of developing a more serious infection, there is no increased risk of death. These conclusions, for which more than 7,000 patients were studied, appear from international research in eleven countries, including the Netherlands (Radboud university medical center).

The study, led by Australian researchers, examined over 7,000 patients from 11 different countries who were admitted to 18 hospitals. Of this group, over a third (34.8 per cent) were overweight and almost a third (30.8 per cent) were obese.

COVID-19 patients with obesity required oxygen more frequently and were 73 per cent more likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation.

Remarkably, no greater mortality was observed in these groups of patients than in patients of healthy weight.

Immunologist Siroon Bekkering of Radboud university medical center, principal investigator of the Dutch part, explained that never before so many different data on obesity have been combined in one large study.

“Several national and international observations already showed the important role of overweight and obesity in a more severe COVID-19 course. This study adds to those observations by combining data from several countries with the possibility to look at the risk factors separately. Regardless of other risk factors (such as heart disease or diabetes), we now see that too high a BMI can actually lead to a more severe course in corona infection,” Bekkering said.