Increased obesity is one thing that could make COVID more dangerous for children.

People keep making the claim, so I keep looking for evidence that the Delta variant is harming children more, but every data point I’ve seen has been flawed, explainable, or not applicable.  (Sincerely, if I’m missing something, send it my way.)

If we do start seeing worse outcomes for children, however, this finding from a recent study could be a contributing factor:

The absolute increase in overweight or obesity was 5.2% among 12- through 15-year-olds (relative increase, 13.4%) and 3.1% (relative increase, 8.3%) among 16- through 17-year-olds. Most of the increase [in BMI] among youths aged 5 through 11 years and 12 through 15 years was due to an increase in obesity.

A recent CDC study reported that people who were overweight or obese made up 72% of the population of the study but 78% of people hospitalized with COVID, 78% of those in intensive care, and 82% of those on ventilators.

This morning, I saw (but lost track of) a Twitter thread posing a moral question:  Two men arrive at the hospital, one of whom hadn’t bothered to be vaccinated and now was declining fast, and the other of whom discovers he has early, operable pancreatic cancer.  There is only one remaining bed.  Who gets it?

There are a number of things wrong with this supposed dilemma, but bringing the question of obesity into it shows how dangerous a line of thought it is.  After all, Americans have no excuse for not getting in better shape, particularly in the face of COVID, and yet they’re not, even though prior health is a big factor in the likely severity of a coronavirus infection.  Why is that different from vaccination?  And why limit the test only to the face-to-face with an unvaccinated COVID patient?

If we’re going to move toward making people more accountable for their own health decisions, we should do it across the board, not merely as another means of hating people who have made a politically unfashionable choice.


Featured image by the CDC on Unsplash.

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