Obesity: A critical risk factor in the COVID‐19 pandemic

Obesity is an emerging independent risk factor for susceptibility to and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus‐2 (SARS‐CoV‐2). Previous viral pandemics have shown that obesity, particularly severe obesity (BMI > 40 kg/m2), is associated with increased risk of hospitalization, critical care admission and fatalities. In this narrative review, we examine emerging evidence of the influence of obesity on COVID‐19, the challenges to clinical management from pulmonary, endocrine and immune dysfunctions in individuals with obesity and identify potential areas for further research. We recommend that people with severe obesity be deemed a vulnerable group for COVID‐19; clinical trials of pharmacotherapeutics, immunotherapies and vaccination should prioritize inclusion of people with obesity.


© 2020 The Authors. Clinical Obesity published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of World Obesity Federation.

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