While the impact of obesity on chronic disease has been widely examined, there has been less research regarding the influence of obesity on infectious diseases, particularly respiratory diseases. This exploratory research uses the currently available data on COVID-19 cases and mortality, along with estimates of the morbidly obese populations in the United States by county, to examine the association between morbid obesity and deaths from COVID-19 and to identify potential coincident spatial clusters of morbid obesity and COVID-19 deaths. Results indicate a statistically significant positive correlation between population-adjusted COVID-19 deaths and cases and the estimated population with a body mass index ≥ 40. Clustering analyses show there is a predominant similarity in the distribution of COVID-19 deaths and obesity. Our findings suggest it is critical to include an awareness of obesity when developing infectious disease control measures and point to a greater need to focus resources toward obesity education and policy initiatives.
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