Doctors take aim at food industry over poor diets


Obesity is the biggest risk factor for death from Covid-19 in under 50s, according to a new study from the US Centre for Disease Control based on 99 countries and 14 states from March.

The research examined the underlying conditions of patients hospitalised with the virus to find out which risk factors – including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease and high blood pressure — led to the most severe disease.

It found that obesity was the biggest risk factor for those under 50. For those over 65, high blood pressure was the biggest risk factor, accounting for over 70%, with heart disease accounting for half. Around 60% of hospital cases under 50 were obese, compared with 18% with high blood pressure, 19% with diabetes and 4% with cardiovascular disease. In those aged 50-65, obesity accounted for half of hospitalisations, compared to 40% aged over 65.

Rising links between poor diet and coronavirus deaths

In light of the mounting evidence that obesity and poor diet increases the risk of a severe response to Covid-19 infection, medical professionals now want the public health message urgently updated. And this, they warn, means the food industry bracing itself for regulation, such as bans on advertising and taxes.

“Not only would a massive public campaign on diet save lives it would change the course of our nation’s health forever​,” Kailish Chand, Honorary Vice President at the British Medical Association, wrote on Twitter.

Tim Spector, Professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said: “Obesity and poor diet is emerging as one of the biggest risk factors for a severe response to Covid-19 infection that can no longer be ignored.”


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