Two-thirds of people hospitalized for COVID-19 had at least one of four pre-existing conditions: obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure, a new study found.
The alarming results, published Thursday in the Journal of the American Heart Association from a study led by researchers at Tufts University, estimated the number and proportion of national COVID-19 hospitalizations that could've been prevented if Americans didn’t suffer from the four major “cardiometabolic” conditions.
Other studies had already showed each of the conditions was strongly linked to the higher risk of a poor outcome from COVID, Tufts University noted in a statement.
The university researchers found that among the 906,849 total COVID-19 hospitalizations of adults as of Nov. 18, 2020, 30% were attributable to obesity, 26% to hypertension, 21% to diabetes and 12% to heart failure.
When the four conditions were combined, the researchers’ model suggested 64% of COVID-19 hospitalizations might have been prevented, the statement said.
The researchers’ model also showed just a 10% reduction in national prevalence of each condition, when combined, could prevent about 11% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“It’s crucial to test such lifestyle approaches for reducing severe COVID-19 infections, both for this pandemic and future pandemics likely to come,” lead researcher Dariush Mozaffarian said in the university statement.
Among the hardest hit were people with those conditions in Black and Hispanic communities, the researchers noted.
“National data show that Black and Hispanic Americans are suffering the worst outcomes from COVID-19,” Mozaffarian said. “Our findings lend support to the need for prioritizing vaccine distribution, good nutrition, and other preventive measures to people with cardiometabolic conditions, particularly among groups most affected by health disparities.”
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