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Royal College of Physicians responds to World Obesity Federation report showing link between COVID-19 deaths and obesity

The RCP's lead adviser on obesity, Professor Rachel Batterham, responds to the World Obesity Federation's latest report.

Professor Rachel Batterham, Royal College of Physicians' lead adviser on obesity, said:

“The link between high levels of obesity and deaths from COVID-19 in the UK is indisputable, as is the urgent need to address the factors that lead so many people to be living with obesity.

“With 30% of COVID-19 hospitalisations in the UK directly attributed to overweight and obesity, and three quarters of all critically ill patients having overweight or obesity, the human and financial costs are high.

“Obesity is characterised by excess body fat, of course, but what drives this weight gain is far more complicated than one might think. Genetic make-up, biological and social factors all play a part, as do health inequalities. We know, for example, that obesity is twice as prevalent among adults living in the most deprived parts of the country as those in the least deprived areas.

“If the government is serious about tackling the obesity crisis, it first needs to implement a cross-government strategy to address health inequalities, including providing access to weight management services for those who are struggling to manage their weight.”