COVID-19 and Obesity — Everything You Need to Know

The COVID-19 pandemic has the world on lockdown. Many of you have paused their lives, trying to find ways to stay healthy. There are some of you who are at increased risk of having a more severe reaction to the virus or having life-threatening complications. Today we are going to look at how obesity and excess body fat contributes to being at increased risk of infection and complications.

According to the World Health Organization, 650 million people were overweight in 2016. That same year, the global rate of obesity was three times what it was in 1975, according to the obesity statistics

Now, with the lockdown, obese people can’t visit the gyms or proceed with their weight loss plans, and this is devastating to them. Here’s why obese people are at a higher risk than others: 

  • People with heart disease and diabetes are more prone to COVID-19 infection 
  • Obese people are harder to treat in the in-patients setting, challenging to diagnose, and difficult to transport
  • The pandemic has them trapped inside with limited weight loss opportunities
  • Their wish to lose weight might be suppressed by COVID-19 anxiety 

If you or someone you care about falls into this category, this may inspire you to make some healthy changes or continue with your healthy habits.

Look Around You

Stand in front of a mirror and take a good look at yourself. It doesn’t matter how you’ve reached this point in your life right now. What matters are the choices you can start to make. Start out by asking yourself these questions:

Do I want to feel restricted in movements and/or feel constant pain in my joints? 

Do I still want to be dependent on others to help me in regular activities around the house?

Do I want to be exposed to the COVID-19 risks mentioned above?

Weight loss, to the point of reaching a healthy weight that feels good to you, reduces health risks. It’s good for you and all the members of your family who love you unconditionally, who support you and wish you well.  If it’s too daunting to focus on exercise and meal plans, try shifting your focus to the people in your life and how everyone benefits when you feel better.

There are people in your corner who want you to succeed: friends, family, and/or professionals! What is one action you can take today, no matter how small, to upgrade your habits to support a healthy weight?

Read Success Stories

The Internet is full of success stories of overweight people who were dedicated to their goal and reached it. The ones that keep it off transformed more than just their physical habits: they transformed their mindset as well. You can learn from their experiences. Use their success stories to boost you up and give you strength when you feel you need some motivation or whenever you feel like giving up.

Make mental notes on the time those people took to lose weight, what they did to change their habits and what helped them the most. Isolation is the perfect time to think about how you can upgrade your game plan. It’s important to know that you can be a success story too! You can feel better and be an inspiration for others. 


If you’re obese or overweight, know that continuing to take action will reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 and complications associated with this virus. You are worth it and you don’t have to do it alone. Look around at who can support you. Sometimes, a simple message to a trainer or a training buddy, a therapist, a nutritionist, or health coach can help you stay on your weight loss journey. I’m rooting for you!

In health,

Rebecca Hazelton & Dusan Goljic