Physical inactivity linked to more severe COVID-19 infection: Study
(Sourced from PTI)
A sedentary lifestyle is associated with more severe COVID-19 infection and an increased risk of dying from the viral disease, according to a large-scale study. Researchers, including those from the University of California San Diego, found that COVID-19 patients in the US who were consistently inactive during the two years preceding the pandemic were more likely to be admitted to hospital.
Inactive patients were more likely to require intensive care, and die compared to those who had consistently met physical activity guidelines, researchers said. The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that physical inactivity was surpassed only by advanced age and a history of organ transplant as a risk factor for severe disease.
Several risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection have been identified, including advanced age, male sex, and certain underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, the researchers said. However, physical inactivity is not one of them, even though it is a well-known contributory risk factor for several long-term conditions, including those associated with severe COVID-19, they said.
To explore its potential impact on the severity of the infection, including hospital admission rates, need for intensive care, and death, the team compared these outcomes in 48,440 adults with confirmed COVID-19 infection between January and October 2020. The patients' average age was 47, with nearly two-thirds of them being women (62 percent). Their average weight (BMI) was 31, which is classified as obese.
Around half of the adults had no underlying conditions, including diabetes, COPD, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and cancer, nearly one in five (18 percent) had only one, and almost a third (32 percent) had two or more conditions. The researchers also took into account the potentially influential factors, such as race, age, and underlying medical conditions.
Patients who were consistently inactive were also 20 percent more likely to be admitted to the hospital, 10 percent more likely to require intensive care, and 32 percent more likely to die of their infection than those doing some physical activity regularly. The researchers, including those from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, noted that this is an observational study, and as such, can't establish cause.
Researchers found that patients with COVID-19 who were consistently physically inactive were more than twice as likely to be admitted to the hospital as those who clocked up over 150 minutes of physical activity every week. Such patients were also 73 percent more likely to require intensive care, and 2.5 times more likely to die of the infection, according to the study.
"We recommend that public health authorities inform everyone that following public health safety guidelines like social distancing, wearing a face mask, engaging in regular physical activity may be the action individuals can take to prevent severe COVID-19 and its complications, including death," the researchers said.