Thursday, 30 July 2009

Obesity is not a factor in Swine Flu Fatality

At least some sense is preserved by this report.
I wonder why initial reports by doctors indicate that obese people are
more prone to Swine Flu deaths?

Swine Flu Kills at Similar Rate for Obese and Skinny Patients
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By Tom Randall

July 29 (Bloomberg) -- Being fat doesn't increase the risk of death
from swine flu, according to a U.S. analysis that contradicts initial

About 34 percent of the U.S. population is obese, while 38 percent of
patients who died with swine flu had the condition, according to a
report presented today at a vaccine conference at the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Extremely obese people make
up 6 percent of the population and 7 percent of swine flu deaths.

For the seasonal flu virus that strikes every year, obesity isn't
considered a separate risk factor, and global health authorities were
studying a possible link with swine flu complications from anecdotal
reports by hospitals. After analyzing the available data, scientists
at the CDC today said there was no unique threat for the overweight.

"Obesity should not be considered a new risk factor," said Anthony
Fiore, a CDC researcher. Obese patients may have other conditions that
can complicate the flu, and doctors should still consider that when
making treatment recommendations, he said.

A person is obese if their body mass index is greater than 30 or about
186 pounds for a person who is 5 feet, 6 inches tall.

About 70 percent of patients hospitalized with swine flu, also known
as H1N1, have an underlying medical condition that adds to their risk
for complications, Fiore said.

The analysis was prompted in part by a CDC report July 11 that 9 of 10
patients with the pandemic flu strain admitted to an intensive care
unit at a hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from late May to early June
were obese, and seven were "extremely obese," with a body mass index
of at least 40. Three of the 10 died and seven had no other known
health problems.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Randall in New York at
Last Updated: July 29, 2009 15:56 EDT

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