Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: Obesity and COVID-19

It’s a proven fact that obesity puts people at risk for other chronic health conditions.

“We see it as preexisting condition for developing other medical problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease, even some cancers,” said Dr. Tim Snow, a bariatric surgeon at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. “It’s not surprising that people who are a little more obese are more susceptible to developing the virus as well.”

Now, Dr. Snow also says it can put people at higher risk for COVID-19.

“We’re still learning a lot about this, but it does appears to be a significant risk factor here in the United States. We weren’t really seeing that beforehand, because in China, their typical patient population, the obese population is less than 10%, and here in the United States it’s more around 40%,” noted Snow.

A new Johns Hopkins study shows those between ages 20 and 40 and obese are most at-risk. But, there are things you can do to help decrease obesity and improve your health.

“We already know that bariatric surgery is an option for patients that are obese and we’re already treating that aggressively here in the United States as our obesity numbers are climbing still,” said Dr. Snow. “There’s a lot we should do though, and this should be even more incentive for people to take their obesity seriously.”

Dr. Snow adds staying active is important, and you can often find workouts on YouTube targeted to what you are looking for as a way to get activity in while at home. Finally, making good food choices is also a necessity.

“With the virus going on it’s tough to make good nutrition choices just because we feel comfort with certain foods, and we have to make that a priority if we want to take control of our health,” said Dr. Snow.

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