The Dual Concern - COVID & Obesity

COVID-19 is an unparalleled event in modern human history. It has led to unprecedented changes in the way we live. Daily routines of morning walks, travelling to offices, outdoor sports have been stopped. The fear of contact with the virus has reduced walking and other outdoor movements among all age groups enhancing sedentary living and reduction in energy expenditure resulting in adverse weight and health situations. 


In numerous studies carried out during lockdown, it was observed that people spent less time exercising and at a decreased intensity, increased their stockpiling of food and reported increased stress eating. A large number of people experienced increased napping during the day, worsened sleep quality, interrupted sleep, insufficient physical activity, low mood , increased eating/ snacking pattern, increased appetite, and a disrupted daily routine.

Prolonged physical inactivity  increases the risk of weight gain and ultimately increases the risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, low back pain, osteoarthritis etc. This aspect is magnified by the unhealthy dietary habits that often accompanies screen viewing.

Post-COVID-19 depression, chronic fatigue and stress symptoms might also induce weight gain.

Link between Metabolic and Physiological Impairments in Obesity and COVID-19

Excess fat mass in overweight / obese individuals is a risk factor not only for chronic diseases but also for severe infections and infectious complications such as Covid- 19

A recent study published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal established that the risk of worst outcomes from Covid – 19 starts increasing in people with a BMI over 23 kg /m2. The risk for hospitalization was 5 % higher and the risk of hospital admission was 10 % higher for each one unit increase in BMI. The study showed the excess weight leading to severe risks was greatest in the 20 – 39 age group

In a healthy body, fat plays a positive role, serving as a reservoir of energy. Fat tissue is also full of immune system cells. In lean, healthy individuals, it secretes factors that are anti-inflammatory and protective. In obese, it can become dysfunctional and secrete hormones and other chemical signals that promote chronic low-grade inflammation which increases the risk of several conditions. This chronic inflammation is amplified by acute inflammation arising out of COVID-19 resulting in more severe disease. 

Obesity reduces immunity, increasing chances of infection, greater viral load and prolonged infection. The vaccines developed to address COVID-19 will be less effective for obese individuals due to a weakened immune response.

Obesity decreases lung capacity and can make ventilation more difficult. Sleep apnoea and other respiratory dysfunctions in obese may increase risk of hypoventilation-associated pneumonia, increased blood pressure and cardiac stress. 

Large waist circumference and greater body mass increase the difficulty of care in hospital settings for supportive therapies, such as intubation, mask ventilation and prone positioning. 

Obesity also increases the risk of getting dangerous lung clots in COVID-19 patients

Poor diet that is high in sugar and  fats and low in complex carbohydrates, fibre & micronutrients, besides playing a role in weight gain can also increase inflammation. It alters the composition of the bacteria present in the intestine encouraging the production of toxins. Obesity can increase the permeability of intestinal epithelium to these toxins, allowing them to be released into the bloodstream. 

Obesity is related to other health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases, which may deteriorate during COVID-19 and affect the overall health. The risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 is likely to be lower if the diabetes and blood pressure is well-managed. 

Data from recent research studies suggest that fat accumulation in the abdomen and high blood sugar levels in both non-diabetic and diabetics range could also be important risk factors for severe COVID-19. 

COVID -19 can cause new onset diabetes and can worsen blood sugar control in those with pre-existing diabetes.  The possible reasons include stress, anxiety, depression, weight gain & use of steroids.

How VLCC Luxe can help ?

VLCC Luxe’s Wellness programme can help to control and even reverse chronic low-grade inflammation, reduce weight, maximize health and reduce your chances of developing severe COVID-19 if you become infected.

Lifestyle intervention by means of Diet, physical activity, passive activity and therapies and behaviour modification lays down the foundation of our programme

All clients who join VLCC Luxe go through an intensive zero (the first) session. Here the clients' detailed medical history, lifestyle, past medical & family history are noted. A detailed medical examination is then performed. Following this a Body Composition Analysis (BCA) is conducted using the latest technology. Detailed analysis of the body composition assists in customizing the Wellness programme as per individualized requirements.

Medical counselling and aligned line of treatment is implemented and closely supervised by the Medical Doctor.

An individually tailored dietary prescription based upon metabolic, nutritional & lifestyle requirement is made for every client by our expert Dieticians which helps reduce chronic inflammation, provide the body with protective compounds and antioxidants besides weight loss.

An exercise programme as per individual's lifestyle is charted out by our specialized physiotherapists. It is important to expend energy besides controlling the caloric intake. This is achieved by both passive & active exercise. Appropriate activity patterns can help reduce inflammation and improve the metabolic health.

Further, you may not be overweight but maybe having central obesity (fat deposition around the abdomen), higher visceral fat levels, which again is a predisposing factor for Covid -19 and other Medical conditions. Waist circumference, Visceral Fat Area, Waist–Height ratio are important indices to measure the same. VLCC Luxe’s localized fat reduction programme, executed by trained physiotherapists and therapists, is focused on plummeting that disproportionate band of excess fat on your waist besides improving skin laxity and toning the muscles. 

So don’t hesitate, take a step forward, discuss your  issues with our Counselor and Medical Doctor, join the “Wellness Programme” curated just for you and see a positive transformation in your life.

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