Gov't pushed to focus more on healthy lifestyles in coronavirus prevention
While working on the approach to the coronavirus, the government should not only look at available hospital beds, but also at healthier lifestyles, researchers from TNO and Leiden University Medical Center said in a document signed by various hospitals and scientists. A healthy lifestyle is important to prevent complications from a virus infection and more attention and money should go into promoting this to limit the damage of a second or third coronavirus wave, the researchers said, Trouw reports.
The exact influence a healthy diet, sufficient exercise, and enough sleep have on a Covid-19 infection is not yet clear. But there are clear indications that an unhealthy lifestyle has an effect on the coronavirus. Many hospitalized Covid-19 patients under the age of 70 ended up in hospital or ICU because of other health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Many of these conditions can be prevented by lifestyle changes.
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease disrupt the metabolism, the researchers explained in the document sent to the government. If the metabolism is disrupted for a long time, it causes chronic inflammation, which puts pressure on the immune system, which in turn then cannot focus on attacking viruses such as the coronavirus. "Compare it to a rubber band that is constantly under tension; it can't stretch further if more pressure is put on it," the researchers said.
They therefore find it important for the government to put effort and money into promoting a healthier lifestyle for Netherlands residents. The document is signed by TNO, Leiden UMC, Vereniging Arts & Leefstijl, AMC, Radboud UMC, Menzis, and the knowledge center for sports and exercise Kenniscentrum Sport & Bewegen.