Summary List Placement
As the US continues efforts to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, people with underlying health conditions are being moved to the front of the queue.
In 15 states, obesity is one of those qualifying conditions.
That’s because having a body mass index (BMI) above 30, the cut-off line for obesity, is considered to be a risk factor for severe coronavirus complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unlike other chronic conditions such as diabetes or cancer, obesity comes with a social stigma which can prompt poorer care, even from healthcare providers, according to Dr. W. Scott Butsch, director of obesity medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. The stigma can also cause people to delay medical treatment.
In some cases, people with obesity might not even realize they qualify for an early vaccine. While BMI is an imperfect measure of health, over 40% of US adults have obesity. That’s an estimated 78 million people, so it’s worth checking your BMi to see if you qualify for a vaccine.
How to know if your BMI grants you access to a vaccine
Your BMI is determined by body weight relative to height, and you can calculate it online using the CDC website (or if you like math, take your weight in pounds, divide by your height in inches, and multiply that total by 703).
A number between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, 30 and above is considered obese, and 40+ is categorized as severe obesity.
Obesity is a qualifying condition for vaccine eligibility in Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming.
You’re eligible if you have severe obesity in Montana and Missouri.
People with obesity in addition to another underlying, like diabetes, qualify in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Other states may include obesity as a qualifying condition as vaccine rollouts continue. Availability is regularly changing state by state, and even county by county, so check your state’s guidelines.
Obesity is a known risk factor for COVID-19 complications
Obesity is linked to more severe COVID-19 cases, as well as a higher risk of complications. In April, researchers found that obesity was the most significant chronic risk factor for hospitalization among coronavirus patients. Evidence has also found that the higher an obese person’s BMI, the more likely they will die of COVID-19.
Obesity is also more common among Black and Hispanic Americans, which data show tend to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
With all the research suggesting people with obesity are high-risk, Butsch said it’s sup rising that more states aren’t making it a priority for early vaccine access.
“With the call to follow the science, I’m very curious if there’s a small amount of hypocrisy when we don’t follow the evidence in prioritizing people who have obesity in distributing the vaccine,” he said.
BMI is an imperfect measure of health
You might have a higher BMI and be perfectly healthy. You may not even appear overweight or obese.
“On an individual level, BMI may not be a perfect indicator of …read more
Source:: Business Insider
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