Overweight people more likely to die of Covid-19, Dutch study confirms
People who are overweight are more likely to die from Covid-19, researchers at SEO Economic Research confirmed. They examined the link between people’s lifestyles and the excess mortality during the coronavirus pandemic. The link was overwhelmingly obvious: 70 to 100 percent of the excess mortality during the first two years of the pandemic occurred among overweight people.
During the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, 30,000 more people died than expected on historical mortality figures - excess mortality. The researchers examined the link between these excess deaths and lifestyle factors like obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, level of exercise, and loneliness.
Overweight was the only lifestyle factor that is related to high excess mortality within all subgroups, the researchers said. Being overweight is, therefore, much more decisive than all other factors when it comes to your risk of dying from Covid-19.
Between 57 and 84 percent of the excess mortality was among people who were overweight and smoked or had smoked in the past. That comes down to 17,000 to 25,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths. The researchers called this figure remarkable because these lifestyle factors affect 30 percent of the population. “The share of this group in excess mortality is therefore more than twice as large as their share in the population.”
The difference was much smaller for other lifestyle factors.
SEO did this study at the request of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, according to NOS. The goal was to provide insight into vulnerable groups in society so that lifestyle factors can be considered during vaccinations in future pandemics.
The results were not a surprise. At the start of the pandemic, doctors already noticed that certain groups within society were overrepresented in the ICUs.