Could obesity be affecting Islington’s coronavirus rates?

Hospital admissions were obesity is a factor are on the rise. Picture: Clara Molden/PA

Hospital admissions were obesity is a factor are on the rise. Picture: Clara Molden/PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Obesity levels in Islington could be exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic, research suggests.

A report by NHS Digital, Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet in England 2020, found hospitals around the country saw a spike in admissions where obesity was a factor in the period between April 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019.

In Islington there was a rise of 5 per cent over the research period.

It is notable, however, that admissions relating directly to obesity have fallen by 15pc in Islington in the same time.

New research from The University of Glasgow found increased body mass index (BMI) was linked to suffering severe coronavirus symptoms.

According to Age UK, one in 20 people who get Covid-19 will need critical care in hospital. Professor Kevin Fenton, regional director of public health at Public Health England (PHE) and NHS London, said: “Having an accurate understanding of how diseases affect different groups of people is a really important issue and a fundamental part of PHE’s role.

“The link between obesity and Covid-19 health outcomes is not yet clear, so PHE is rapidly building robust data and undertaking detailed analysis to develop our understanding of the impact of this novel coronavirus on different groups which can inform actions to mitigate the risks it presents.

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“We are considering the impact of various factors including obesity, ethnicity, age, gender and geographical location and how these may have an impact on someone’s susceptibility to the virus.”

The NHS Digital report found there were 876,000 hospital admissions where obesity was a factor nationwide, a hike of 23pc on 2017/18. Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington’s deputy leader and executive member for health and social care, said: “During the current crisis it’s important that we all keep up exercise as much as we can, although it is difficult, and to try not to eat too much. That is certainly a message I keep telling myself.”

In 2018, Islington joined the Sugar Smart campaign, which brings together local organisations to promote healthier alternatives to high-sugar foods and drinks.