According to a report from the World Obesity Federation, countries with high levels of overweight people have the highest death rates from Covid-19. The death rate from COVID-19 is ten times higher in countries where 50 per cent or more of the population is overweight.
About 2.2 million of the 2.5 million deaths from Covid were found to be in countries with high levels of obesity.
The report revealed that being overweight comes as the second biggest factor in the death toll after age, and people who are overweight should be given greater priority for vaccinations and tests.
The UK, US and Italy, where about 50 per cent of the adults are overweight, have the highest proportions of deaths linked to coronavirus.
Among the list of countries where more than half the adult population is overweight, Belgium has the highest death rates, followed by Slovenia and the UK. Italy and Portugal occupy the 5th and 6th position, while the US is 8th.
Vietnam, by contrast, has the lowest Covid death rate in the world and has the second-lowest level of overweight people in the population. According to WHO data, Vietnam is reported to have only 0.04 per 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 and 18.3 per cent of adults overweight.
Dr Tim Lobstein, senior policy adviser of the World Obesity Federation and author of the report, said, "We now know that an overweight population is the next pandemic waiting to happen…. like global heating and ocean pollution, the problem needs worldwide leadership, ensuring that industry and the market are there to serve people's health and the health of the planet."
Since the link found between obesity and mortality rates from Covid-19 is clear and compelling, the report must be considered as a global wake-up call to tackle and bring down the case of obesity, said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.