Scientific Review for Beirut Arab University Obesity increases the risk of health complications for COVID 19

16 July 2020


A scientific review conducted by researchers at Beirut Arab University and five Italian universities revealed that individuals with obesity are at higher risk of health complications if they develop COVID-19. The review has put recommendations for dealing with patients affected by obesity as high priority in specialized health care services if necessary.

Dr. Marwan El Ghoch, Head of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Beirut Arab University, in cooperation with researchers from five leading universities in Italy: University of Milan, University of Verona, Brescia University, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and District for Health Services in Autonomous Province of Trento prepared the scientific review about the risks of COVID-19 on persons with obesity which shows that they are exposed to more serious health complications. The reason for this risk is chronic diseases related to obesity such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, particularly pulmonary diseases can represent a primary fertile soil for respiratory tract infection, when combined with immune system impairments usually seen in patient with obesity, this may worsen the general condition toward a systemic diffusion of infection and a deterioration of the clinical condition.

The scientific review was published in the Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, and concluded with some clinical recommendations and strategies that may help individuals suffering from obesity from the repercussions of this pandemic, the most important of which are:

• Social (physical) distancing, and hand washing considered undoubtedly the first line of defense.

• Adhering to healthy lifestyle based on healthy eating and appropriate hydration, regular and moderate physical activity, and adequate rest and sleep.

• Following a weight management program indispensable to avoid any additional weight gain that may lead to clinical deterioration of obesity and its correlated comorbidities.

• Keeping the obesity related-comorbidities under control, and ensure that these patients are regularly and correctly taking medications for the treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and dyslipidemia.

• Careful management of any medical signs or symptoms and prompt intervention in cases of suspected SARS-CoV2 infection is necessary for early diagnosis of COVID-19 to prevent the progression of the disease towards severe outcomes. Such precautions are needed both at home and during hospital care.

• If needed a preferential access dedicated to primary care services.