Maybe this could serve as a wake-up call for overweight Americans who have become more health-conscious during the past 12 months: The population hit hardest by the effects of COVID-19 were overweight or obese.

In fact, almost 80% of those admitted with a COVID-19 diagnosis were overweight.

A study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented the findings that overweight/obese people ran a far greater risk for coronavirus hospitalizations and death.

From March-December 2020, in 238 U.S. hospitals:

Of the 148,494 adults who received a COVID-19 diagnosis during an emergency department or inpatient visit, 71,491 were hospitalized.

Of the 71,491 admitted, 27.8% were overweight and 50.2% were obese.

Overweight is defined as having a body mass index (a calculation using height and weight) of 25 or more, while obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more.

Someone 6 feet and 185 pounds, for example, has a BMI that exceeds 25; the standard for being overweight is met pretty easily.

In the CDC report, people with a BMI less than 25 ran a significantly lower risk for hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths, while it showed a concerning increase in those categories the higher the BMI became.

The risks were especially prevalent among high-BMI people 65 and older, the agency said.

The numbers show 50.2% of the COVID-19 patients in the study were obese, but that is more closely aligned with the state of the nation.

More than 42% of the U.S. population was considered obese in 2018, according to the CDC.

“As clinicians develop care plans for COVID-19 patients, they should consider the risk for severe outcomes in patients with higher BMIs, especially for those with severe obesity,” the agency wrote.


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