Dianne Lugo, Staff Writer

Newly expanded guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now suggest that three-quarters of Americans are likely at increased risk of contracting a severe case COVID-19. 

In June, the CDC had advised that obese Americans, those with a body-mass index of 30 or above, were more likely to face severe COVID-19 complications. Now, the CDC is warning that overweight people – not just obese people—should also be cautious.

While 40 percent of Americans are obese, another 32 percent are overweight (defined as a BMI between 25 and 29.9) explained the CDC.

One study published in July focusing on 500 COVID-19 patients in the United Kingdom found that after adjusting for other risk factors, patients who were overweight or obese (43 percent and 27 percent, respectively were more likely to need mechanical breathing assistance or were more likely to die.

“This greatly expands the risk to a pretty big chunk of the U.S. population,” Barry M. Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told the New York Times.

Popkin recently reviewed 75 studies which concluded that obese people were twice as likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, compared to people who were overweight or of normal weight. Obese people were also twice as likely to wind up in intensive care, concluded the review.

The expanded warning is especially concerning for minorities, who continue to be disproportionately affected by obesity. According to the CDC, Black people have the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by Hispanics, both communities who have already been disproportionately impacted by the virus.