Hospital (illustrative)
Hospital (illustrative) iStock

A new research showed that obesity significantly raises the risk of death from coronavirus.

The study, conducted by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health and Professor Barry Popkin of its Department of Nutrition together with World Bank health and nutrition specialist Meera Shekar, first appeared in a paper published in Obesity Reviews.

In the study, researchers examined 75 studies published on coronavirus patients, finding that those patients with a BMI of over 30 had a 113% higher chance of hospitalization and were 74% more likely to require intensive care. They also found that obese patients had a 48% higher risk of dying from coronavirus.

"That's a pretty big effect for me," Popkin said. "It is a 50% increase essentially. That’s a pretty high scary number. All of it is actually, much higher than I ever expected."

"ICU admission and mortality are really high," he added, emphasizing that the findings "all shocked me, to be honest."

Two of the countries with some of the highest numbers of coronavirus deaths, the US and Britain, also have high rates of obesity: In the US, 40% of people are obese, and in the UK, 27% are overweight.