(6) comments Back to story

Bailey Jones

I don't doubt the importance of obesity as a comorbidity with COVID, but I did question the COVID death rate in Japan - if they aren't testing, how do they know whether people are dying from COVID? A good place to look would be the "excess" death rate in 2020 vs earlier years. This measure makes it evident that the attribution of 300K+ deaths to COVID in the US is correct. It would also tell us whether Japan's claims are correct.

A useful resource for examining excess mortality is https://ourworldindata.org/excess-mortality-covid however Japan is not included in this dataset. A few studies seem to indicate that Japan has not suffered excess deaths during the pandemic - here:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.09.20143164v9

and here:

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jea/advpub/0/advpub_JE20200492/_pdf/-char/en

So, I'm convinced. Whether the difference in mortality is fat, or the tendency of the Japanese to follow scientific guidance is still a question. (The second study here indicates that deaths from other respiratory illnesses and accidents were both down during the pandemic in Japan, presumably due to mask-wearing, social distancing, and staying home.) But the evidence for the health implications of obesity is clear. It's also clear that Americans aren't really interested in doing better.

Virginia Stone

I agree that eating a healthier diet is very important in preventing obesity. I also think that if we all learned that portion control helps us eat less and that exercise 'which is the big key in my body' can save lives. However, I am genetically obese so it's not so cut and dry to simply make some dietary changes and you are magically on your way to good health. Since heart disease and type two diabetes are also factors that make the outcome of COVID less positive and are also diseases that could be related to bad eating habits I have a few ideas that I believe would benefit all Americans

Restaurants should cut way back on the portions, charging the same per entree, or a family of four could go out and eat one entree making sure to tip the server for the three extra plates.

I really wouldn't mind if we didn't have fast-food restaurants at all since this convenience feeding contributes to bad eating habits and people becoming less willing to prepare meals at home if they are fortunate enough to be able to have one.

Americans have too many conveniences we even have services that deliver your convenience feeding this needs to end for people with roofs.

Advertisers must stop the overselling of too much food and too much drink including, coffee, soda, and highly caffeinated drinks since all of these beverages contribute to diseases that can make COVID worse.

Let's Move as Michelle Obama says because even a little daily movement will help.

The common thread in all of the mentioned diseases is poverty shouldn't that be the goal, ending poverty will make Americans healthy.

Maybe the author should be grateful and try to remember there are many reasons some people aren't as fit as others and trying to put such a complex issue as obesity into such a small little idea (put the fork down) is wrong with the simple little solution of eating better is a weak argument that really has little to do with COVID.

Dwight Burns

Amen!!!!

David Schuler

There is nothing in Laura's fine article that attempts to pass judgement on why a person is obese or not, only that apparently people who are obese - for whatever reason - are more likely to have a severe case of Covid. The "Fat is Fun" lobby has worked so hard to shame those who might pass such judgement that of course, no one in their right mind makes such a comment. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that being overweight puts extra strain on ankles and knees, circulatory and respiratory systems and other body functions, and it only makes sense that folks who are already pushing the limits of human anatomy would be more at risk.

John Nilsson

There has been a direct causal connection between obesity and Covid-19 (not always, but enough to be a factor) that has been largely unmentioned in the media during the pandemic. When returning from travel in other countries, one cannot help but notice the increased amount of obesity in the US. Thanks, Laura, for writing about this.

Stuart Crouch

Ok, we all (or most should) know that we have too many fat people in this country. Welcome to our world of excess. Duh. It's also no secret that the Japanese live healthier lives than most on the planet and live to very ripe old prune-like ages. Selecting them for comparison and use for your position was no accident, I'm sure. Certainly, there must have been more recent supporting data on how Japan has been dealing with this pandemic than citing something from May 25th. Then, the various conspiratorial/non-believer/nay-sayer/pro-business capitalist demon begins to rear its ugly head in this article. Is there some worry that the Biz Buzz column will lose its support and informational sources if they are not afforded some sympathy and support against pandemic restrictions? Or, could the businesses, who provide the revenue stream to this paper through their advertising dollars, need an voice and an ally to their cause?

This article is an opinion piece, and I get that; it simply presents itself as being a thinly-veiled attempt to further a belief that there is a myriad of reasons for all of these deaths (that must somehow be the fault of those affected) and that there cannot be any justifiable reason for placing some temporary restrictions on people, places and things that are deemed to be for the greater good of all of us. If you want to present the argument that business revenue is of a greater societal interest and value than the health and well-being of a community and the human beings that occupy it, there is no need to 'mask it' (see what I did there?) by the assertion that comorbidities in some way lessen the significance and seriousness of this virus. If I were a 'chubba-bubba' and had been for a number of years, and I contract Covid-19 tomorrow and perish six weeks later, the smart money is on the fact that I died from 'complications related to the Covid-19 virus', not because I was a 'friend of the fork'. 'Putting people ahead of profits' didn't exactly leap off the page here; quite the opposite.

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