Obesity, Hypovitaminosis D, and COVID-19: the Bermuda Triangle in Public Health.

Second Department of Critical Care, Medical School, Attikon General University Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 1 Rimini St, 12462, Haidari, Greece. eikaras1@gmail.com.Department of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Evangelismos General Hospital of Athens, 45-47 Ypsilantou St., 10676, Athens, Greece.Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, Brigham and Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 221 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.Department of Biological Chemistry, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 75 Mikras Asias St, 11527, Athens, Greece.

Current obesity reports. 2022


PURPOSE OF REVIEW The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged public health to a significant extent by markedly increasing morbidity and mortality. Evidence suggests that obesity and hypovitaminosis D constitute important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection, severity of disease, and poor outcomes. Due to their high prevalence globally, obesity and hypovitaminosis D are considered pandemics. This review presents current epidemiologic and genetic data linking obesity, hypovitaminosis D, and COVID-19, highlighting the importance of the convergence of three pandemics and their impact on public health. We also briefly summarize potential mechanisms that could explain these links. RECENT FINDINGS Epidemiologic data have shown that obesity is an independent risk factor for COVID-19, severe disease and death, and genetic evidence has suggested a causal association between obesity-related traits and COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. Additionally, obesity is independently associated with hypovitaminosis D, which is highly prevalent in subjects with obesity. Hypovitaminosis D is independently associated with a higher risk for COVID-19, severity, hospitalization, infectious complications, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and poor outcomes. However, genome-wide association studies have not revealed any causal association between vitamin D levels and the risk for COVID-19, while there is no robust evidence for a beneficial role of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the epidemiologic impact of obesity and hypovitaminosis D is emphasized. Efforts to increase public awareness and reinforce preventive and therapeutic measures against obesity and hypovitaminosis D are strongly required.

Methodological quality

Publication Type : Review