Healthy weight as a multifaceted societal challenge – commentary on the impact of BMI on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness

Annelies Wilder-Smith

08.07.2022 – In an invited comment in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, Annelies Wilder-Smith, MD, PhD, ISPM adjunct professor, and Annika Frahsa, Prof. Dr. phil., head of the ISPM research group on community health and health care systems research, discuss a recently published paper from a large UK cohort study on associations of BMI with COVID-19 vaccine uptake, vaccine effectiveness, and risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes that the paper’s findings not only underscore the importance of vaccination, but also the importance of reducing the prevalence of obesity.

Wilder-Smith and Frahsa emphasize that «Obesity and COVID-19 appear to be a detrimental intersection, one that has also been observed for influenza and other infectious diseases».

In addition to that, people with obesity reported increased overeating, reduced physical activity behavior, and increased barriers to weight management during pandemic lockdown measures.

Tackling obesity, thus, calls for addressing the issue as the multifaceted societal problem that it constitutes to «help mitigate the disastrous consequences of the current COVID-19 pandemic and those of future pandemics».