60% Of Teens Hospitalized With COVID-19 Have ‘Severe’ Obesity, CDC Says

(MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that a majority of teenagers hospitalized with COVID-19 have one thing in common: severe obesity.

Among a sample of 915 patients aged 12-17 years old from six U.S. hospitals, 61.4% were obese, the CDC found. Sixty and five tenths percent had “severe obesity,” defined as having a body mass index (BMI) above 40. Having a BMI above 30 qualifies as obese.

In the general population, about 9% of adults have severe obesity, according to the CDC. Sixty percent of teenagers being afflicted with the condition as COVID-19 hospital patients is highly disproportionate.

“Compared with patients without obesity, those with obesity required higher levels and longer duration of care,” the researchers wrote. “These findings are consistent with previous reports and highlight the importance of obesity and other medical conditions as risk factors for severe COVID-19 in children and adolescents.”

In spite of the significantly increased risk for severe COVID-19 created by obesity, public health officials have largely not encouraged the American people to lose weight in order to fight the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, measures like mask mandates, encouraging social distancing and staying home from social activities have been prioritized. (RELATED: Why Hasn’t Dr. Fauci Told Americans To Stop Being So G*****n Fat?)

Childhood obesity has increased during the pandemic, exacerbating the issue. The increase in obesity in children coincided with shutdowns of schools and extracurricular activities, making it harder for some kids to participate in sports or other exercise.