Can Obesity Prevalence Explain COVID-19 Indicators (Cases, Mortality and Recovery)? A Comparative Study in OECD Countries

Yuval ArbelMiryam Kerner


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a declared global pandemic with multiple risk factors. Obesity is considered by several researchers as one of the serious risk factors for coronavirus complications based on recent empirical studies. Yet, other scholars argue in favor of the existence of an obesity survival paradox, and criticize the former group of studies on the grounds that they lack controls for race, socioeconomic status, or quality of care. The objective of the current study is to analyze the potential relationships between different corona indicators and obesity on a state-wide level, based on an OECD report. In an attempt to test the counter-intuitive possibility of an obesity survival paradox, the proposed empirical model relaxes the assumption of monotonic change by applying the quadratic design and testing which one of the two competing models (i.e., quadratic or linear) better fits the data. Findings suggest more complex relationships between corona indices and obesity rates than previously thought. Consequently, ethical guidelines referring to priority in intubation and intensive care treatments should account for these complex relationships between obesity and corona. Indeed, there is a linear increase of mor...Continue Reading

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