Obesity Prevalent Among 2009 H1N1-Infected Californians

Extreme obesity tied to a higher risk of death for 2009 H1N1 patients

TUESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- One-half of Californians ≥20 years of age hospitalized with 2009 H1N1 infection were obese, with extreme obesity associated with increased odds of death, according to a study published online Jan. 4 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Janice K. Louie, M.D., of the California Department of Public Health in Richmond, and colleagues evaluated demographic and clinical characteristics of 534 California residents hospitalized with 2009 H1N1 infection. They assessed whether obesity (body mass index [BMI], ≥30 kg/m²) and extreme obesity (BMI, ≥40 kg/m²) were an independent risk factor for death among case patients ≥20 years old.

The investigators found that 274 patients (51 percent) had a BMI ≥30 kg/m², which was more than two times the prevalence of obesity among California adults and 1.5 times the prevalence among the general U.S. population. Among 92 patients who died (17 percent), 56 (61 percent) had BMI ≥30 kg/m² and 28 (30 percent) had BMI ≥40 kg/m². The investigators also found that the following factors were associated with death: BMI ≥40 kg/m² (odds ratio [OR], 2.8), BMI ≥45 kg/m² (OR, 4.2), age ≥50 years (OR, 2.1), miscellaneous immunosuppressive conditions (OR, 3.9), and asthma (OR, 0.5).

"Obese adults with 2009 H1N1 infection should be treated promptly and considered in prioritization of vaccine and antiviral medications during shortages," the authors write.

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