Could obesity be impacting coronavirus rates in Brent?

Hospital admissions were obesity is a factor are on the rise. Picture: Clara Molden/PA

Hospital admissions were obesity is a factor are on the rise. Picture: Clara Molden/PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Obesity levels in Brent could be exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic, new research suggests.

A report by NHS Digital, Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet in England 2020, found hospitals around the country saw a spike in admissions where obesity was a factor in the period between April 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019.

Brent saw a 42 per cent increase, up from 4,335 to 6,145 admissions, over the research period.

It is notable, however, that admissions relating directly to obesity have remained level in Brent over the same time frame.

New research from The University of Glasgow has found increased body mass index (BMI) was linked to suffering severe symptoms of coronavirus and according to Age UK, one in 20 people who get Covid-19 will need critical care in hospital.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals Brent has the highest number of coronavirus-led deaths in London.

Professor Kevin Fenton, regional director of public health at Public Health England (PHE) and NHS London, said: “Having an accurate understanding of how diseases affect different groups of people is a really important issue and a fundamental part of PHE’s role.

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“The link between obesity and Covid-19 health outcomes is not yet clear, so PHE is rapidly building robust data and undertaking detailed analysis to develop our understanding of the impact of this novel coronavirus on different groups which can inform actions to mitigate the risks it presents.”

The NHS Digital report found obesity rates around the country were more than twice as high in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent Council’s cabinet member for public health, culture and leisure, said: “Obesity is a common problem in the UK and, like many inner city neighbourhoods with high levels of deprivation, Brent is not immune to this growing crisis.

“Being overweight can cause a number of serious health problems such as heart attacks, high blood pressure and cancer so it is absolutely a priority to tackle this issue.”

Brent Council has been encouraging residents to get fit by providing links for home workouts and giving advice on how to eat healthily.