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From the start of the pandemic, it was clear that some people who were infected with the coronavirus were experiencing more severe illness, which increased their chances of being hospitalised, admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) or dying.

As we age, a weaker immune system and chronic health conditions could influence the way our body responds to the virus. Indeed, age is the biggest risk factor for developing severe COVID or dying from it. Over 70% of deaths attributed to COVID in the UK are in those aged 75 years and over.

Ethnicity, sex and obesity were also found to be risk factors for severe COVID outcomes. But, of course, we can’t do anything about our age, sex or ethnicity. We can do something about being overweight, though.

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure applying height and weight to calculate a weight score. A person with a BMI over 25 is considered to be overweight, and over 30 is considered to be obese.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, co-written by Nerys M AstburyCarmen Piernas and Min Gao (Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences).

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