Letter to the editor: America’s obesity epidemic worsened COVID-19 outcomes

Ally Doolin

Even when the government tells us the truth — like when Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky recently stated, “The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75%, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really these are people who were unwell to begin with” — people still can’t seem to process what it means. The CDC’s website corroborates Walensky’s statement. Turns out, the real pandemic in this country is our extremely poor baseline state of health.

If we want to end this pandemic, we should be turning our focus to healthy diet and exercise and improving our baseline health. Over 42.4% of Americans are obese. During the pandemic, obesity in America has worsened, including childhood obesity. Obesity causes chronic inflammation in the body. COVID-19 also causes severe inflammation in the body. Combine obesity with COVID-19, and you have the perfect storm for severe illness. It’s no wonder that according to the CDC, over 78% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are overweight or obese.

We can examine the impact of obesity by looking at the COVID-19 death rates for the U.S. and Japan. Approximately 4% of Japan’s population is obese. Its death rate is 147 per 1 million. Ours is 2,626 per 1 million, a factor of over 17 times higher. It would seem obesity is a factor in our death rate.

My advice to readers: Implement logic and self-discipline by taking personal responsibility for your health. Stop eating fast and highly processed foods, eliminate non-natural sugars from your diet, stop drinking soda, drink plenty of water, eat clean and lean foods, turn off the TV and establish a regular exercise routine.

We live in the perfect place for it. I skied 120 days last season. It’s great for mental and physical well-being.

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