Obesity linked to long Covid-19, RAK hospital study finds

Supplied Photo
Supplied Photo

Ras Al Khaimah - Study finds 62 per cent of the population across the emirate overweight.

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Saman Haziq

Published: Thu 12 Aug 2021, 4:44 PM

Obese people are at a greater risk of experiencing long-term Covid-19 complications, also known as long-haul Covid-19, according to a recent study conducted by a Ras Al Khaimah hospital.

The health and lifestyle study conducted by RAK Hospital across the emirate found that 62 per cent of the population was overweight. In comparison, 51 per cent followed an unbalanced diet. The study observed the health conditions of as many as 3,277 people between March to December last year.

In addition, 26 per cent of people from this lot were inactive and sedentary, while 68 per cent had one or more chronic ailments. It was also observed that obesity can be classified as the only medical condition which leads to more complications and is associated with greater morbidity and mortality. Overweight people are also at a greater risk of severe illness from Covid-19 and its complications.

Professor Adrian Kennedy, the Chief Wellness Officer at RAK Hospital, pointed out that obesity is one of the significant risk factors that lead to severe complications in Covid-19.

In line with its mission to educate the community and create a more resilient society, RAK Hospital launched its Covid-19 rehabilitation programme in March this year, a one-of-a-kind integrated initiative enhancing the lives of recovering Covid-19 patients who struggle due to long Covid symptoms.

RAK Hospital will be conducting a free webinar on Saturday, August 14, 2021, from 11 am to 12 pm (UAE time), to inform long Covid patients on the factors that cause obesity, the impact of obesity on the body and effective management strategies which can help them reduce weight and resume everyday life much more quickly. Moreover, experts will also talk about the relation between obesity and Covid -19; its impact on chronic illnesses, in addition to providing valuable tips on tackling these aspects.

Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Raza Siddiqui, executive director of RAK Hospital, said, “Obesity is linked to an impaired immune function and may triple the risk of hospitalisation due to the infection. Obese people with long Covid symptoms also experience longer recovery periods and find it difficult to manage their chronic conditions. However, the good news is that proper guidance and appropriate techniques can help reduce the issues and make a person’s transition to normal life much swifter.”

Ruba Al Hourani, head dietitian at the hospital and also a speaker at the webinar, emphasised that: “Maintaining a BMI of below 25, eating nutritious food and exercising moderately every day are the best ways to lose weight. Following the fad of crash diets can be dangerous to one’s health and are often counterproductive.”


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