Obesity as a predictor for a poor prognosis of COVID-19: A systematic review

Alice Tamara, Dicky L. Tahapary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aims: COVID-19 is an emerging pandemic due to droplet infection of 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Due to its rapid transmission and high case-fatality rate, recognition of its risk and prognostic factor is important. Obesity has been associated with impaired immune system, increasing the susceptibility for 2019-nCoV infection. We aimed to study the impact of obesity to the prognosis and disease severity of COVID-19. Methods: A systematic search and handsearching was conducted in four databases: Cochrane, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PubMed. The identified articles were screened using the chosen eligibility criteria. We obtained three retrospective cohort studies (Wu J et al., Lighter J et al., and Simonnet A et al.) to be critically appraised using Newcastle Ottawa Scale. Results: The findings of all included studies were consistent in stating the contribution of obesity as a risk factor to increase the requirement for advanced medical care. Study with the highest quality, Simonnet A et al., reported an increase need of invasive mechanical ventilation in COVID-19 patients with body mass index higher than 35 kg/m2, OR: 7.36 (1.63–33.14; p = 0.021). This is associated with a higher mortality rate in obese population infected with COVID-19. Conclusion: Obesity is an independent risk and prognostic factor for the disease severity and the requirement of advanced medical care in COVID-19. This systematic review highlights a particularly vulnerable group – obese, and emphasises on the importance of treatment aggression and disease prevention in this population group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-659
Number of pages5
JournalDiabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research and Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Obesity
  • Predictor
  • Prognosis


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