Since the start of the pandemic, obesity has been listed as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 and a recent CDC study explains just how severe.

The study says being obese may triple your risk of hospitalization should you contract COVID-19.

According to the study, 78% of the people who have been hospitalized, needed a ventilator, or died of COVID-19 have been overweight or obese.

Health experts say obesity is linked to impaired immune function and decreased lung capacity which makes ventilation more difficult.

Plus, it tends to cause low-grade inflammation. Fat cells secrete inflammation-triggering chemical agents which can flood the body, kill tissue and damage organs.

“If you’ve already got a stressed cardiac system because of obesity, adding something that increases inflammation, and adds chemicals that cause the heart to deteriorate… with COVID-19, it just exacerbated the problem,” says Stuart Long, CEO, InfoBionic. “Whereas someone who is not obese, doesn’t have have those complications already, their systems can handle it easier.

In the U.S., an estimated 40% of American adults are obese. While many factors contribute to obesity in communities, two things can be listed as solutions.

Access and education on good nutrition, and safe physical activity.