Believe me, I’m as tired of writing about COVID-19 as you probably are of reading about it. But the fact is, we are still very much in the midst of this pandemic—and shoving our heads in the sand won’t change that.
So as research comes out, I’m going to continue sharing it here with you. Especially when it focuses on issues that we should have been taking seriously long before COVID-19 came along. And that includes the dangers of certain pre-existing conditions in relation to COVID-19 infections.
Case in point: A new study shows that most COVID-19 hospitalizations in this country can be attributed to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure.
None of this should come as a surprise, but the numbers are finally in—and they paint a grim picture. Among the nearly one million virus-related hospitalizations the U.S. has reported since November of last year:
- 30 percent trace back to obesity
- 26 percent trace back to hypertension
- 21 percent trace back to diabetes
- 12 percent trace back to heart failure
Add those up, and you see that nearly two-thirds of all the hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in this country could have been prevented.
In fact, the study authors say that even a mild, ten percent reduction in these four pre-existing conditions—which are avoidable through healthy eating and regular exercise—may have prevented more than 11 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
And yet still—after a whole year of navigating this pandemic—it seems no one except me is out here begging people to lose weight. Or to exercise. Or to make sure their blood sugar is under control.
My pandemic PSA
The fact is, whatever you think of COVID-19, people have suffered… and are still suffering. This pandemic affects mental and physical health, potentially leading to long-term side effects that may never go away—including some that we may not even know exist yet.
So what can we do about it? Well, we can’t rely solely on vaccination. The whole point of vaccination is to reduce severity and spread of COVID-19 infections, to ultimately make this pandemic more manageable. But we can help the process along by taking care of ourselves.
In other words, it all boils down to one thing: changing behaviors.
Yes, I understand change is hard. But in most cases, it’s absolutely necessary. (And a whole lot better than just complaining about mask–wearing, lockdowns, and not being able to visit loved ones. Remember, a negative outlook is every bit as dangerous to your health.)
One of the simplest ways to reduce the societal impact of COVID-19 would be for all of us to lose weight, eat right, and exercise.
After all, leaner, healthier communities have suffered far fewer deaths and hospitalizations. That is a fact. Yet, public health officials have done nothing to spread this message—which is every bit as important as calls for mask–wearing and social distancing.
The best part? The benefits of diet and exercise are noticeable within days to weeks. Blood sugar and blood pressure numbers improve almost immediately. And those two things alone will help to save lives, especially now.
Of course, it’s time for our government to step up to the plate, too—through supporting better access to healthy food, and to stop lining the pockets of Big Agribusiness by subsidizing junk like sugar, wheat, corn, and soy.
But in the meantime, start taking your health into your own hands TODAY. Stop eating packaged, ultra–processed junk food. And start eating fresh, whole foods—including organic produce, lean proteins, and nuts. Then, make time to move your body for at least 20 minutes each day. Take a stroll around the block or even craft an effective workout routine using items from your own home. Whatever you do… just move.
That’s my PSA for the remainder of this pandemic—and for every day after, too.
P.S. Did you know that regulating chronic inflammation is the best way to help prevent and turn the tide on illness… and perhaps even COVID-19? That’s why, this Sunday, May 9th at 3 p.m. (EDT), I’ll be hosting an important, all-inclusive Combat Your Inflammation Summit. Click here to reserve your spot to this FREE event!
“Most Severe COVID Tied to Four Cardiometabolic Conditions.” Medscape Medical News, 02/25/2021. (medscape.com/viewarticle/946488)