23 Jul 2020
Posted in Pharma
Social media posts about links between obesity, diet and COVID-19 by metabolic disorders influencers peaked in May, says GlobalData
Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, social media posts related to the virus from metabolic disorders influencers increased significantly, with content peaking in April, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
According to GlobalData’s Metabolic Disorders Influencer database, one of the main topics that metabolic disorders influencers discussed in April and May was the link between obesity, diet and COVID-19. In January and February, little to no posts relating to this were seen from influencers, while, in March, obesity was discussed in 15% of posts, while diet was seen in 4%.”
“However, in both April and May, ‘obesity’ was the highest trending keyword for COVID-19–related posts, appearing in 50% and 72%, respectively. Likewise, ‘diet’ was the third highest trending keyword for both of these months, appearing in approximately 20% of posts.”
Top posts during these months highlighted that obesity and poor diet are linked to severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalizations and high mortality rates – particularly in younger patients and those who are living in poverty. There were also several posts flagging that processed foods cause inflammation, which can lead to worsening COVID-19 outcomes.
Whitney concludes: “People with severe obesity have been classified at risk of developing serious outcomes from COVID-19, highlighting that the implications of this disease are not limited to older age groups as first thought.
“GlobalData epidemiologists estimated 27 million individuals over the age of 18 years across the nine major markets to be obese in 2020. Countries with high numbers of severely obese patients may experience additional pressure on their health systems with increased hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units. For example, the US has the highest prevalence of obesity of approximately 8%, followed by the UK with 2.5%.
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted another raging global pandemic of obesity and poor diet. It is critical that the food industry is taken to task about the relentless promotion of unhealthy food and drinks. Governments must also step up to ensure that targets to reduce salt, sugar, and saturated fat in foods are met in order to improve the diet of their nations, particularly those in socially deprived areas.”