People with malnutrition more likely to have severe Covid-19 outcomes

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  • People with a history of malnutrition have an increased risk of severe Covid-19.
  • A history of malnutrition also increases one's chances of requiring ventilation and death.
  • Records of more than 100 000 patients were used in the study.

A new study found that adults and children with a history of malnutrition who get Covid-19 have an increased risk of death and the need for mechanical ventilation. 

The study published in Scientific Reports examined whether patients with a history of malnutrition are predisposed to severe Covid-19.

Finding the link

Researchers gathered medical records using the medical records of 8 604 children and 94 495 adults hospitalised with Covid-19 in the United States between March and June 2020.

People with a history of malnutrition between 2015 and 2019 were identified, and their demographics, socioeconomic status, admission of vital signs, and related comorbidities background were considered. 

The authors also looked at whether the participants were diagnosed with Covid-19 and considered the severity of their condition and whether they needed mechanical ventilation or died.

Findings of the study

The study results show that that there is a link between past diagnosis of malnutrition and severe Covid-19 in both paediatric and adult patients.

The severity of Covid-19 in children with a history of malnutrition was highest in children younger than five years. With age, the risk dropped slightly, but children above the age of five with no history of malnutrition had a much lower risk of severe Covid-19. 

In adults, the study found that people with malnutrition aged 18 to 78 years also had higher odds of severe Covid-19 than those in the same age group with no history of malnutrition.

“These imply that there is an opportunity to target and improve the outcomes of younger adults with nutritional issues although older patients are more likely to have worse outcomes in general,” the paper states.

The authors add that understanding the links between Covid-19 outcomes and malnutrition provides an opportunity to improve the prognosis of patients with a history of malnutrition.

*For more Covid-19 research, science and news, click here. You can also sign up for our Daily Dose newsletter here.

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