When it comes to the coronavirus, age and weight are more than just numbers.
In two new studies, NYU researchers found certain risk factors like age, obesity and chronic illness can lead to an increased risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 patients.
In one of the largest data reviews on COVID-19 cases so far, researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine found that age and chronic illness (cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, in particular) were the leading factors that led to hospitalization for COVID-19 patients. The study, which looked at reports on 4,103 patients from March 1 through April 2, is currently under peer-review and has been pre-published online.
“The risk factors we identified for hospitalization in [COVID-19] are largely similar to those associated with any type of severe disease requiring hospitalization or ICU-level care, though we were surprised that cancer and chronic pulmonary disease did not feature more prominently in the risk models,” the researchers wrote in the study. “For instance, while advanced age was by far the most important predictor of hospitalization . . . 54% of hospitalized patients were younger than 65 years. This is typical of the hospitalization pattern in viral respiratory disease.”
In a separate study, researchers at NYU Langone Health found that patients under 60 were at a higher risk of hospitalization due to complications from COVID-19 if they were obese. The report, which was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, looked at the data of 3,615 patients who tested positive for the coronavirus from March 4 to April 4.
Researchers found that patients under 60 who were considered obese by BMI standards were almost two times as likely to be admitted to the hospital for acute and critical care.
“This has important and practical implications, where nearly 40 percent of adults in the US are obese,” the researchers wrote in the study. “Unfortunately, obesity in people [under 60] is a newly identified epidemiologic risk factor, which may contribute to increased morbidity rates experienced in the US.”