Association between Body Mass Index and Risk of COVID-19: A Nationwide Case-Control Study in South Korea

Link to article at PubMed

Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Aug 25:ciaa1257. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1257. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Increased body mass index (BMI) has been associated with higher risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections. However, whether obesity is a risk factor for contracting COVID-19 has been hardly investigated so far.

METHODS: We examined the association between BMI level and the risk of COVID-19 infection in a nationwide case-control study comprised of 3,788 case patients confirmed with COVID-19 between January 24 and April 9, 2020 and 15,152 controls matched by age and sex, who were aged 20 years or more and underwent National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) health examinations between 2015-2017, using data from the Korean NHIS with linkage to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Our primary exposure of interest was BMI level categorized into four groups; &18.5 (underweight), 18.5-22.9 (normal weight), 23-24.9 (overweight), and ≥25 kg/m 2 (obese).

RESULTS: Of the entire 18,940 study population, 11,755 (62.1%) were women, and the mean (SD) age of the study participants was 53.7 (13.8) years. In multivariable logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic, comorbidity, laboratory and medication data, there was a graded association between higher BMI levels and higher risk of COVID-19 infection; compared to normal weight individuals, the adjusted ORs in the overweight and obese individuals were 1.13 (95% CI, 1.03-1.25) and 1.26 (95% CI, 1.15-1.39), respectively. This association was robust across age and sex subgroups.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher BMI levels were associated with higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

PMID:32841322 | DOI:10.1093/cid/ciaa1257

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