In fact, researchers have found that as people gain excess weight, their metabolism changes and this shift can make the immune system less effective at fighting off viruses.”What we see with obesity is that these [immune] cells don’t function as well,’ says Melinda Beck, a health researcher at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Basically, she explains, obesity throws off the fuel sources that immune cells need to function. And, as a result, the condition of obesity seems to “impair that critical immune response [needed] to deal with either the virus infection or [the ability] to make a robust response to a vaccine.” People who develop the chronic illnesses that put them at higher risk of COVID-19 often lack access to affordable and healthy foods or live in neighborhoods where it’s not safe to play or exercise outside.They are already at high risk for COVID-19 by having a chronic condition,” says Joseph Valenti, a physician in Denton, Texas, who promotes awareness of the social determinants of health through his work with the Physicians Foundation. They may need to take a bus, with people that have COVID-19 but aren’t showing symptoms, to get access to nutritious food or even their insulin prescription,” he says.
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