The majority of American teenagers who were hospitalized for COVID-19 had obesity issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new study examining the hospitalizations of those under 18 during July and August. During those months of 2021, the delta variant was the dominant strain of the virus in the United States.
The CDC reviewed 915 cases of adolescent patients with COVID-19 that required hospitalization. All the cases were recorded at hospitals in the American South.
“Among patients aged 12–17 years, 61.4 percent had obesity,” the study concluded. It further noted that “60.5 percent of whom had severe obesity.”
Furthermore, 713 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 alone and did not have another infection. Of these cases, about 68% had one or more underlying medical conditions. In addition to obesity, these conditions included asthma or reactive airway disease and feeding tube dependence.
Among the patients between 12 and 17, 272 were eligible for the vaccine, and one was fully vaccinated. The data shows there were 11 deaths among this age group.
“A higher percentage of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 with any underlying condition was admitted to the ICU (34.7%) compared with those without an underlying condition (18.5%),” reports the CDC.
The agency also found that “the duration of hospitalization was longer for patients with obesity … than that for those without obesity” and “a higher proportion of patients with obesity were admitted to the ICU.”
In its analysis of the CDC’s study, Reason noted, “it remains the case that healthy children who do not have underlying health conditions—particularly obesity—are by and large safe from negative COVID-19 health outcomes.”
Obesity increased from 19% before the pandemic to 22% among people between the ages of 2 and 19, according to data from the CDC.
A second study from the University of Michigan and Kaiser Permanente Southern California found young people gained more weight during the pandemic than before.
Expected annual weight again for severely obese children rose from 8.8 pounds before COVID-19 to 14.6 pounds as of August 2020.
“These findings underscore the importance of efforts to prevent excess weight gain during and following the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as during future public health emergencies, including increased access to efforts that promote healthy behaviors,” the study said. “These efforts could include screening by health care providers for BMI, food security, and social determinants of health, increased access to evidence-based pediatric weight management programs and food assistance resources, and state, community, and school resources to facilitate healthy eating, physical activity, and chronic disease prevention.”
A study from the Social Security Institute of the State of Mexico and Municipalities ranked obesity as the number one comorbidity factor associated with COVID-19.
Data indicates that an estimated 600 Americans under 18 have died from COVID-19.