More and more, we are buying long-life, processed foods that will keep in the cupboard but are full of additives and sodium to help keep them fresh. Whilst they are effective on cost, consumption of these types of food over a sustained period will eventually lead to weight gain.
Combining poorer eating habits with the reduction of outside activity time and the fact that gyms are closed for the foreseeable future, is a recipe for raised levels of obesity in the UK when the lockdown eventually comes to an end.
Given that a study conducted by the NHS in 2017 showed that 29% of adults are obese and a further 36% of adults are overweight in the UK already, the lockdown could prove to be an issue for the levels of obesity in the country and could add additional strains on the NHS with regard to obesity related illnesses, even when life resumes as normal.
Aside from the increased risks of nationwide obesity post-lockdown, does being overweight or obese put you at a higher risk of contracting or suffering complications of COVID-19?
When the disease first arose at the beginning of 2020, we were immediately able to identify a number of ‘at-risk’ groups who are more likely to suffer the effects of COVID-19 worse than others or are more susceptible to contracting it.
These groups include those with debilitating illnesses such as cancer, respiratory diseases like asthma and the elderly.
However, as time has passed and we’ve seen more instances of the disease throughout the world, recent studies have identified that being overweight or obese can also put you at more risk of contracting and suffering complications from COVID-19 too.
An April 2020 study made in French hospitals on patients suffering from COVID-19, showed that a high percentage of those admitted to intensive care for treatment also had high BMIs. The study also showed that the severity of infection also increased – so the higher the BMI, the worse the infection.
What’s more, a report by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre found that almost three quarters of people – 4387 patients of 6005 surveyed – who are severely affected by COVID-19 and require hospitalisation in the UK are either overweight or obese.
Additionally, approximately 40% of those who had a BMI over 25 and required hospitalisation in the UK unfortunately lost their lives to the infection.
Why are obese or overweight people more at risk?
With 65% of adults in the UK currently being affected by obesity or being overweight, we can make the assumption that the pandemic will naturally affect a lot of people who are overweight or obese.
Having a raised BMI generally increases your chances of weight-related illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which means that you can also fall into one of the at-risk categories for the virus.
But what about the effect on patients who are overweight or obese, but are otherwise, in good health?
Being overweight or obese means that you have a lot more stored fat than those who have healthy BMIs. Stored fat can lead to higher levels of inflammation, which in turn, can negatively impact the effectiveness of your immune system. Your immune system battling the inflammation leaves your body at a higher risk of contracting the virus as it is not strong enough to fight off the COVID-19 infection.
If you find that a lot of the excess weight you are carrying is around your waist and stomach, this can also mean that your lungs find it harder to get the air they need and become less efficient when faced with a viral respiratory infection like COVID-19.
If you are overweight or obese, how can you help to reduce your risk of complications, should you catch Coronavirus?
A simple way to help could be to reduce your weight and, in turn, your BMI – which we understand that is easier said than done in our current lifestyles!
We at The Slimming Clinic know all-too-well the temptation to snack, graze, eat more and move less whilst we are in a country-wide lockdown and feeling stressed, anxious or bored, but keeping your health a priority is more important than ever.
We know it can be easier to put off looking after your health when you’re busy or having to keep children occupied all day, but you can also use this time as a brilliant chance to help develop new, healthier habits and a broader awareness of good nutrition and the importance of keeping active.
How can The Slimming Clinic help you?
If prioritising your health seems hard to do alone right now, The Slimming Clinic can help make it easier for you. Let us support you and help you to lose weight and improve your health by speaking to our wonderful Doctors, who can discuss any concerns, issues or worries you have relating to your health and weight.
We can also give you access to experts in diet, movement and mindset, who can support you in all aspects of your journey, give you tailored advice and motivate you along the way to reaching your goals.
At The Slimming Clinic, we are dedicated to helping you lose weight, improve your health and in turn, help reduce the rising levels of obesity in the UK.
We wanted to ensure you could still be treated safely and successfully lose weight even during lockdown, which is why we now offer remote appointments.
You can join The Slimming Clinic and have your weight loss programme delivered to your from the comfort of your home, with telephone consultations with our GMC-Registered Doctors and, where required, we will deliver your weight loss medication to your door by secure courier.
Call us today on 0800 917 9334 to find out more about our remote weight loss programmes.