Childhood obesity in America was already putting children at risk for poor health, now it’s hospitalizing children and adolescents who have contracted coronavirus.
In a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found approximately two-thirds of COVID-19 patients aged 12-17 were obese, and the length of stay in the hospital was twice that of non-obese adolescents.
The CDC found that children with an underlying condition — 34.7% — were also more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit than children without an underlying condition (23.9%).
The study was conducted from July 2021 to August 2021 and included six hospitals in Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas.
Of the patients hospitalized for COVID-19, the most common underlying conditions were obesity at 32.4%, followed by asthma (10%) and feeding tube dependence (8.3%).
The CDC also found that hospitalization rates were 10 times higher for unvaccinated adolescents. The study also demonstrates that unvaccinated children hospitalized for COVID-19 could experience more severe disease. The study revealed that only 0.4% of vaccine-eligible adolescents hospitalized for COVID-19 were fully vaccinated.
In addition, researchers found that the majority of children hospitalized for COVID-19 were Black or Hispanic and under 5 years old, or between 12 and 17 years old.
The CDC reported in 2018 that obesity affected nearly 14 million children and adolescents in America.