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Different adiposity measures across sex, age, ethnicity, and COVID-19

By Naveed Sattar, Frederick Ho, Jason MR Gill, Nazim Ghouri, Stuart R Gray, Carlos Celis-Morales, Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi, Colin Berry, Jill Pell, John J.V. McMurray, Paul Welsh

Posted 07 Jun 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.05.20122226

We examined the link between BMI and risk of a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 and risk of COVID-19-related death among UK Biobank participants. Among 4855 participants tested for SARS-CoV-2 in hospital, 839 were positive and of these 189 died from COVID-19. Poisson models with penalised thin plate splines were run relating exposures of interest to test positivity and case-fatality, adjusting for confounding factors. BMI was associated strongly with positive test, and risk of death related to COVID-19. The gradient of risk in relation to BMI was steeper in those under 70, compared with those aged 70 years or older for COVID-19 related death (Pinteraction=0.03). BMI was more strongly related to test positivity (Pinteraction=0.010) and death (Pinteraction=0.002) in non-whites, compared with whites. These data add support for adiposity being more strongly linked to COVID-19-related deaths in younger people and non-white ethnicities. If future studies confirm causality, lifestyle interventions to improve adiposity status may be important to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in all, but perhaps particularly, non-white communities.

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