COVID-19 and Obesity: The 2021 Atlas, addresses the cost of not addressing the global obesity crisis.

A World Obesity Federation report found that 88 per cent of the global COVID-19 fatalities during the first year of the pandemic occurred in countries where more than 50 per cent of the adult population is considered overweight. The risk of death from COVID-19 is about 10 times higher in those countries, compared with countries where less than 50 per cent of the adult population is overweight.

Higher body mass index (BMI) has been shown to be associated with increased risk of hospitalisation, admission to intensive or critical care, and the need for mechanically assisted ventilation. Higher BMI also raises the risk of dying from the disease. This has been found in a large number of studies and systematic reviews. Obesity increases the likelihood that any infectious disease will lead to serious consequences. Bottom line: An overweight population is an unhealthy population – and a pandemic disaster waiting to happen.