Obesity increased the risk of SARS-CoV-2 positivity in children

D. R. Zimmerman, M. Goldberg, M. Blaychfeld Magnazi, S. Alroy Preis, R. Endevelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To determine the effects of obesity in childhood on SARS-CoV-2 infection. Methods: A population-based, cross-sectional study combining the Israeli Growth Survey and COVID-19 data for children with at least one SARS-CoV-2 test from 16 February 2020 to 20 December 2021. Overweight and obesity status were based on body mass index and the Center for Disease Control criteria. Multivariate logistics regression was performed to validate reliability for weight categories at the age of approximately 6 years compared with weights at approximately 12 years. Results: A total of 444 868 records for children with an overall positivity rate of 22% were studied. The mean age was 9.5 years. The odds ratios of children with obesity or overweight after controlling for sex at 6 years to test positive were 1.07–1.12 and 1.06–1.08 (depending on the model), respectively, compared to those with healthy range body mass index. Conclusion: Excess weight appears to increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This finding should be considered for public health planning. For example, children with overweight and obesity should be prioritised for vaccination. Excess weight in childhood can be harmful at a young age and not only for long-term health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1548-1554
Number of pages7
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number7
Early online date10 Apr 2023
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • COVID-19 disease
  • SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • childhood obesity
  • disease spread

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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