OBESITY increases the risk of dying of coronavirus by 37 per cent, new research has found.
Scientists analysed data on nearly 17,000 Brits admitted to 166 hospitals in the UK with Covid-19, the largest study of its kind outside of China.
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The obesity trend was not identified in China, where it is thought fewer people are extremely fat.
The study comes after Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist, said Boris Johnson was so badly affected by Covid-19 because he is "significantly" overweight.
He said the risk of death from the deadly virus increased ten-fold if the patient is obese.
He pointed out that "slimmer" members of the cabinet, including Matt Hancock, recovered much more quickly and were not hospitalised.
Heart disease was also found to be the most common underlying health condition (31 per cent) in coronavirus patients hospitalised with the infection.
Reduced lung function and inflamed tissue under the skin and around internal organs increased the risk of dying from Covid-19, according to joint research from universities of Edinburgh, Liverpool and Imperial College London.
Being male is also linked to more serious Covid-19 hospital admissions, the study found.
Chief investigator Professor Calum Semple, a consultant respiratory paediatrician from Liverpool University, said mortality was similar to those hospitalised with Ebola.
He said it is a "common misconception" that coronavirus is just a "dose of the flu" – warning it is an "incredibly dangerous disease".
Prof Semple said: "Covid-19 is a very serious disease. Crude hospital case fatality rate is of the same magnitude as Ebola. And people don't get this.
"If you come into hospital with Covid-19 disease and you're sick enough to be admitted, crude case fatality rate is sitting somewhere between 35 and 40 per cent.
"And that's the same case crude case fatality rate for someone admitted to hospital with Ebola. You need to get that people need to hear this, and get it into their heads.
"This is an incredibly dangerous disease."
The study found age is the biggest risk factor for mortality – with over 80s around 14 times more likely to die than those under 50.
Most had symptoms for around four days before admission and spent an average of seven days in hospital.
Dementia raised chances of dying from coronavirus after being admitted with the bug by 39 per cent.
While it was previously known Covid-19 severely affected older people and those with chronic diseases, less is known about how it affects those with other underlying health conditions, including obesity.
The research team have shared the data with the UK Government and World Health Organisation.
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