IN THE REHAB ZONE

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Reduce Your COVID-19 Risk: Watch Your Weight

Illustration of obese man's stomach being measured by a doctorIf you have been keeping an eye on area COVID-19 numbers, you have probably noticed that the region seems to be doing a fairly good job of keeping infection numbers low.  But we are part of a greater region and no matter how well our immediate area may or may not be doing, we have to remain vigilant and do the necessary things to protect ourselves during this time.

Many things may be out of our control. We don’t know when schools will re-open or when team sports will return. We don’t know if the governor will require us to go back to “Phase One” with extremely limited social contact.

At Capitol Rehab, our message is simple, to reduce your risk of illness, you must control what you can control, and the one thing you have the most control over is your health!

I hope I do not offend anyone, but when I say control your health, I obviously mean exercise, rest, chiropractic or physical therapy visits, massage, supplementation, hydration, and several other factors, including maintaining a positive outlook.  More specifically, however, I mean we have to do a better job of controlling our weight, particularly those of us who may be obese.  The number one route to controlling our obesity is to maintain a healthy diet.

In the past, I have been accused of  “fat shaming” for discussing the topic of obesity. First, it is important to realize that “obesity” is a medical diagnosis. Second, it is important to remember that your health care practitioners have a responsibility to inform and educate you about ways to be healthy.

We have gone as far as to bring in Dr. Denia Tapscott, MD, to our practice. Dr. Tapscott is a functional medicine specialist, and with long medical experience dealing with weight loss and bariatric surgery, Dr. Tapscott is very versed in the health challenges that are associated with obesity. She is uniquely positioned to help our patients achieve greater health by reducing or eliminating contributors to disease. This includes environmental, dietary, and systemic contributors that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

I realize that good food often costs more than bad food, and that’s a larger conversation.  But here is some data to think about:

Viruses feed off inflammation. Obesity results in increased systemic inflammation.

— A Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30 is considered obese. Public Health England aggregated data from several studies. Among the findings, it reported that “patients living with overweight or obesity (BMI ≥25kg/m2), compared with patients with a BMI<25 kg/m2 are more likely to be admitted to intensive/critical care and to require advanced treatment for severe COVID-19 symptoms.” Similarly, a study in New York City found that a BMI between 30-34.9 and a BNI greater than or equal to 35 kg/m2 increased the risk of admission to critical care 1.8 and 3.6 fold, respectively, as compared to patients with a BMI below 30.

While the science is still evolving, one variable that most studies have noted is that people with overweight or obesity also suffer from co-morbidities like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

What every study points out is that in the fight against COVID-19, contributing factors like race and age also play a role, but they cannot be adjusted while other factors, like obesity, can. Let’s take this unusual period in our history to try to get in front of the issue and reach healthier weights.  It’s a matter of life and death.

Check out this other article on weight and COVID-19.

 

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