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Sep 17, 2021

Obesity is bringing American toddlers to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment

Obesity is bringing American toddlers to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment 50.3 per cent of COVID-19 hospital admissions in the country had obesity as an underlying health condition.

By Anuja Venkatachalam · Sep 17, 2021

Obesity is the leading underlying condition for toddlers getting hospitalized to receive COVID-19 treatment in the United States. Hospitalization data collected by the CDC shows that 20.1 per cent of admissions in the age group of 0-4 years were obese at the time of hospitalisation, making it the single greater risk factor for children of these ages.

The prevalence of obesity among toddlers hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment significantly outweighs the prevalence of other risk factors, including Asthma which is the second-most prevalent condition among toddlers at 3.8 per cent.

Obesity is highly prevalent among adults, too 

More than half of hospital admissions (50.3 per cent), in fact, involved obesity as an underlying condition. 

Adults in the age group of 18-49 years reported the highest prevalence, followed by those in the subsequent age bracket of the 50 and 64 years, as shown below.

Other conditions related to poor lifestyle

Other dominant conditions among admittees are also linked to poor lifestyle practices. Hypertension was most prevalent with 56.7% of admittees diagnosed with the condition, followed by diabetes at 34.4%. However, these affected those in the age groups of 65+ years and 50-64 years. 

6 in 10 adults in the US have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 adults have two or more chronic diseases, making lifestyle risks such as smoking, lack of physical activity and a poor diet a major cause for concern in preserving the health of Americans. 

It is estimated that 42.4 per cent of Americans and 14.4 million children and adolescents in the country are obese. 

States in the east coast report higher rates of obesity than states in the west coast. Racial groups with lower rates of education and income report higher prevalences of obesity. However, attempts to statistically prove socio-economic drivers of obesity have been less conclusive. 

Several public initiatives have been launched to educate children and parents in schools, and the public more broadly on the importance of diet and exercise in maintaining good health. 

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