A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that 73% of Americans that died from COVID-19 have the same underlying health condition.

The common trait among these patients, according to the study, was their weight, as the CDC said that they were all overweight or obese.

A total of 3.24 million Americans who visited hospitals from March to December 2020 were analyzed for the study. Of this group, nearly 150,000 tested positive for COVID-19.

Of the nearly 150,000 adults that were diagnosed with COVID, 71,491 of these people were hospitalized, and 8,348 died from the virus. Of the people that were admitted to the hospital, 50.2% were considered obese and 27.8% were overweight, the CDC report said.

Overweight is defined as a body mass index of 25 or more, and obesity is considered a BMI of 30 or more. Just over 42% of the U.S.’s population was obese in 2018, the CDC said (via CNBC). The CDC also reported that, in total, 74% of Americans are overweight.

According to the World Health Organization, obesity is the second most significant predictor of who would be hospitalized or die from COVID just behind old age.

The CDC’s study notes those that had BMIs under 25 were at a lower risk for hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths from COVID, while those individuals that had BMIs over 25 were at greater risk, especially for those people 65 or older.

The CDC has said that obesity is linked to reduced immune function and decreased lung capacity, which can make ventilation more difficult, increasing the risk of severe illness from COVID, CNBC reported.

The study indicated that obese Americans are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as those with healthy weights, and those that are were morbidly obese (BMIs of 45 or higher) were 1.5 times more likely to die from the virus compared to an average-weight person.

About its findings, the CDC said, “Obesity increases the risk for severe COVID-19–associated illness,” adding that “preventing COVID-19 in adults with higher BMIs and their close contacts remains important and includes multifaceted protection measures such as masking, as well as continued vaccine prioritization and outreach for this population.”

Some states have given priority to the COVID vaccine to those with underlying health conditions, such as obesity.

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Pictured: Representative image of a person measuring the waist. Photo by Pixabay (CC0)