“The lockdown at home due to the pandemic has been useful to face the covid-19. However, on average Colombians have gained weight due to increased sleep hours, decreased sleep time, physical activity and increased consumption of packaged foods, which has increased the risk of being overweight and obesity”said Dr. Hernán Yupanqui, endocrinologist and director of the Colombian Obesity Association (Funcobes).
Although families have more space to cook and improve eating habits, to expand the intake of legumes, fruits and vegetables, unfortunately they have increased the consumption of packaged and hypercaloric foods, probably due to boredom and stress produced by the lockdown because of the virus, said the endocrinologist.
Statistics on the top hundred deaths by covid-19 show that 12 of those Colombians had comorbidity of obesity, according to the research carried out by Alejandro Marín, entitled ‘Basic clinical characteristics in the first 100 fatal cases of covid-19 in Colombia ‘, for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
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Little by little the country is learning the lesson of the damage caused by obesity, although there is still a long way to go in strategies to promote a balanced diet and healthy, regulation of saturated fats, labeling, on the consumption of food and beverages in educational centers and other objectives set in the aforementioned Law 1355, Yupanqui pointed out.
Syndemic and obesity
The lived reality forces us to strengthen these prevention measures against obesity due to the risks that it entails against life, both in current situations and also in the current emergency due to covid-19, which the endocrinologist Iván Darío Escobar highlights , noting that the review of several studies provided an excellent series of meta-analyzes on the relationship of obesity with covid-19, which is summarized as follows: obese individuals have a 46 percent greater risk of being infected with the virus, have a 113 percent greater risk of requiring hospitalization, have a 74 percent greater chance of being admitted to an intensive care unit and, in addition , have a 48 percent higher risk of dying from covid-19.
Escobar highlights that “The pandemic of covid-19 It has occurred at a time when obesity and diabetes pandemics are on the rise in all countries of the world. With the measurements of lockdown the sedentary lifestyle, due to the restriction in people’s mobility and teleworking, and the way we eat has changed, with higher caloric intake “.
There is currently a crash of chronic diseases (obesity and diabetes) with an infectious one (covid-19). The former produce immunological alterations that magnify the latter, and this, in the context of situations of social, economic, and health services inequity for the population, have led to a “syndemic”, that is, when “Two or more diseases interact in such a way that they cause damage greater than the mere sum of these two diseases”Escobar noted.
In this sense, the endocrinologist Hernán Yupanqui ensures that patients obese have a higher concentration of several pro-inflammatory cytokines (hormones) such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) and Interleukin6 (IL-6), produced mainly by visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue, which could play a synergistic role in infection by Sars-CoV-2, promoting severe forms of the disease.
The presence of obesity was associated with an approximately three-fold increase in severe COVID-19, said Dr. Yupanqui.
For now, the recovery
According to Yupanqui, the patient’s decision to want to be at a normal weight is the first step in starting treatment.
It is essential that the patient becomes aware of having a weight chord with their height, because not only will the increased morbidity and mortality from infection by covid-19, but the presence of chronic diseases that also have a great impact on the Colombian population.
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Recovery care for obese (and non-obese) victims of the virus is one of the priorities of the moment, says specialist Iván Darío Escobar, who also adds that the vast majority of covid-19 patients have a good recovery and their return to daily activities, including their physical exercises, it can be quickly.
Prevention from childhood
In this commemoration of the national day and week of struggle against obesity, the indicated thing is to dedicate ourselves to act in the matter of prevention, as indicated by the endocrinologist Escobar in the following tips at each stage of life:
From the gestation, creating the fetus an intrauterine metabolic environment as healthy as possible to avoid epigenetic changes that would lead to obesity, and other cardiometabolic alterations in postnatal life.
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It is necessary to promote Breastfeeding at least in the first six months of birth, but hopefully in the first two years of life, with the inclusion of complementary feeding in a progressive way and without excesses.
In early childhood, we must generate healthy environments for children, with the practice of a beneficial diet, and physical activity according to their ages, which for that time of life translates into games.
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In adolescence and youth, also seeking a healthy diet, avoiding the consumption of ultra-processed products and sugary drinks, and promoting physical activity, which for those times of life translates into sports games and dancing, among others.
In adult life and senescence, a balanced diet and the continuous practice of physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle and obesogenic environments should be avoided at all times of life.
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