Study Title:

Diet, Nutrition, Obesity, and Their Implications for COVID-19 Mortality: Development of a Marginalized Two-Part Model for Semicontinuous Data.

Study Abstract

Background: Nutrition is not a treatment for COVID-19, but it is a modifiable contributor to the development of chronic disease, which is highly associated with COVID-19 severe illness and deaths. A well-balanced diet and healthy patterns of eating strengthen the immune system, improve immunometabolism, and reduce the risk of chronic disease and infectious diseases.

Objective: This study aims to assess the effect of diet, nutrition, obesity, and their implications for COVID-19 mortality among 188 countries by using new statistical marginalized two-part models.

Methods: We globally evaluated the distribution of diet and nutrition at the national level while considering the variations between different World Health Organization regions. The effects of food supply categories and obesity on (as well as associations with) the number of deaths and the number of recoveries were reported globally by estimating coefficients and conducting color maps.

Results: The findings show that a 1% increase in supplementation of pulses reduced the odds of having a zero death by 4-fold (OR 4.12, 95% CI 11.97-1.42). In addition, a 1% increase in supplementation of animal products and meat increased the odds of having a zero death by 1.076-fold (OR 1.076, 95% CI 1.01-1.15) and 1.13-fold (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.0-1.28), respectively. Tree nuts reduced the odds of having a zero death, and vegetables increased the number of deaths. Globally, the results also showed that populations (countries) who consume more eggs, cereals excluding beer, spices, and stimulants had the greatest impact on the recovery of patients with COVID-19. In addition, populations that consume more meat, vegetal products, sugar and sweeteners, sugar crops, animal fats, and animal products were associated with more death and less recoveries in patients. The effect of consuming sugar products on mortality was considerable, and obesity has affected increased death rates and reduced recovery rates.

Conclusions: Although there are differences in dietary patterns, overall, unbalanced diets are a health threat across the world and not only affect death rates but also the quality of life. To achieve the best results in preventing nutrition-related pandemic diseases, strategies and policies should fully recognize the essential role of both diet and obesity in determining good nutrition and optimal health. Policies and programs must address the need for change at the individual level and make modifications in society and the environment to make healthier choices accessible and preferable.

Study Information

JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2021 Jan 26;7(1):e22717. doi: 10.2196/22717. PMID: 33439850; PMCID: PMC7842860.

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