Obesity and COVID-19
Last updated: February 8, 2022
If you live with obesity, you have a higher risk of developing more serious illness from COVID-19.
Your physician can review your medical record to help you understand your personal risk. More information about obesity and COVID-19 is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Here are answers to some common questions you may have. This information might change as we learn more about COVID-19. If you have other questions, talk to your physician.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Am I more likely to get COVID-19 because I live with obesity?
- What can I do to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- What should I do if I live with obesity and have symptoms of COVID-19?
- If I have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 but I do not have symptoms, what should I do?
If you live with obesity, you are not more likely to get COVID-19. However, you are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19.
The virus causes intense infection and inflammation in the body. This can place more stress on the body for people who live with obesity, as they often have chronic inflammation and other health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and heart failure. All of these diseases weaken the body’s ability to fight an infection like COVID-19.
The risk of severe COVID-19 illness increases sharply with elevated body mass index (BMI). Find your BMI by using the CDC’s Adult Body Mass Index Calculator Widget to determine if you are in the overweight or obesity range and at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
Everyone should follow CDC guidelines to help prevent COVID-19 exposure and infection. We urge you to:
- Get vaccinated.
- Wear a mask.
- Physically distance.
- Eat well.
- Reduce stress.
- Get plenty of sleep.
Keep at least a 2-week supply of your medications. If you need a refill, call your physician or send a request through MyNM. While refilling your prescription, you can limit exposure to COVID-19 by using a mail-order service or drive-thru pharmacy. Or, have a caregiver pick up your medication.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, you should be tested for COVID-19. Learn about your testing options in the COVID-19 Resource Center at nm.org/covid19.
The answer depends on many factors. Follow guidelines from the CDC.