Overweight in COVID times

Here are the facts and what you can do

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues its devastation across South Africa, we are learning more about how the virus manifests in people and who is most at risk of serious complications and even death.  We’ve summarized this information in a way that is easy to understand.  Our team has also put a few tips together regarding how you can protect yourself.

It has been confirmed that certain co-morbidities such as diabetes and hypertension may increase one’s risk of severe and rapid progression of the disease and even leading to death. Unfortunately, obesity is also one of the major risk factors that can put your life at risk. 

Research published in the International Journal of Obesity, explains that obesity could be a double whammy.  Not only are you likely to suffer more serious or even fatal consequences from Covid-19, but you are also likely to be hospitalized for longer – which could lead to further complications. 

A study covered by Health24 explained that obese patients with Covid-19 may have nearly 3 times the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism (a blockage in one of your pulmonary arteries in the lungs).

The exact reason why obese people have a worse outcome is still unclear, but current research indicate the following possible causes:  there is an increased strain on the lungs from the higher levels of fat in the chest and belly making it difficult to fill the lungs to capacity even under normal circumstances.  Extra weight will also cause a higher demand of oxygen.  The latest theory is that there is also an increased in inflammation of the fat tissue itself, which leads to an unbalanced immune system, making them more likely to overreact to the virus.  The overreaction will result in damage to the lungs, severe acute respiratory distress and sometimes death.

So, what exactly counts as “being obese”?

Obesity is defined as a medical condition where a person carries excess weight or body fat that may affect their health and increase their risk for chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. 

Many medical guidelines still rely on the so-called Body Mass Index (BMI), where both your height and weight are taken into account.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is overweight and if it’s 30 or more, it is defined as obese. 

Fat distribution – in other words, where your body fat is located, is also a very important guideline.  Excess stomach fat (visceral fat) close to the organs, for example, is considered more dangerous than fat in the lower body.  A waist circumference in an adult male of > 94 cm and in a female > 80 cm greatly increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease. 

With so many ways to determine your health, it is important to realize that everyone’s body composition is unique.  If you’re concerned about your current weight and health, your best course of action is to consult your doctor or a dietician for a personalized health assessment so that you can follow an eating plan and exercise routine that is right for you.

Slender Wonder is a tried and trusted medical weight loss program that has proven effective in helping patients improve their BMI, decrease visceral fat and lead healthier lives for over twenty years. 

Here are some steps that are recommended from our doctors, to protect yourself if you are overweight or obese:

  1. Take physical distancing measures seriously and stay at home as much as possible.
  2. Wear a face mask to lower your risk of contracting Covid-19.
  3. Practice stringent hand hygiene to avoid infection.
  4. Recalibrate your eating and exercise plan. Don’t focus on appearance but focus on your overall health to protect you against Covid-19.  Start with small, realistic changes such as eating fresh, healthy food.
  5. Instead of giving in to crash diets and fad solutions, invest in a medical weight loss program that has proven results.
  6. Boost your immune system with nutritional supplements that are known to benefit the body in this way.

To start your Slender Wonder journey, contact one of the Supreme Aesthetics practices and we’ll connect you with one of our medical doctors for your first appointment.

For more information, and to read about how Slender Wonder works, go to


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