WARNING: the interactive features of this website use CSS3, which your browser does not support. To use the full features of this website, please update your browser.
Aims We examined the link between BMI and risk of a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 and risk of COVID-19-related death among UK Biobank participants.
Methods Among 4855 participants tested for SARS-CoV-2 in hospital, 839 were positive and of these 189 died from COVID-19. Poisson models with penalised thin plate splines were run relating exposures of interest to test positivity and case-fatality, adjusting for confounding factors.
Results BMI was associated strongly with positive test, and risk of death related to COVID-19. The gradient of risk in relation to BMI was steeper in those under 70, compared with those aged 70 years or older for COVID-19 related death (Pinteraction = 0.03). BMI was more strongly related to test positivity (Pinteraction = 0.010) and death (Pinteraction = 0.002) in non-whites (predominantly South Asians and Afro-Caribbeans), compared with whites.
Conclusions These data add support for adiposity being more strongly linked to COVID-19-related deaths in younger people and non-white ethnicities. If future studies confirm causality, lifestyle interventions to improve adiposity status may be important to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in all, but perhaps particularly, non-white communities.