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Home >News >India >Covid patients with history of malnutrition at higher risk of death, finds study

Covid patients with history of malnutrition at higher risk of death, finds study

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Authors of the study said public health interventions for those at the highest risk of malnutrition may help mitigate the higher likelihood of severe covid-19 in this group.

  • The study done by Children's Hospital of Orange County, California, USA, investigated the associations between malnutrition diagnoses and subsequent covid-19 severity

NEW DELHI : Adults and children with covid-19 who have had a history of malnutrition may have an increased likelihood of death and the need for mechanical ventilation, new research published in Scientific Reports shows.

NEW DELHI : Adults and children with covid-19 who have had a history of malnutrition may have an increased likelihood of death and the need for mechanical ventilation, new research published in Scientific Reports shows.

The study done by Children's Hospital of Orange County, California, USA, investigated the associations between malnutrition diagnoses and subsequent covid-19 severity, using medical records for 8,604 children and 94,495 adults (older than 18 years) who were hospitalized with covid-19 in the US between March and June 2020. Patients with a diagnosis of malnutrition between 2015 and 2019 were compared with patients without the condition.

The study done by Children's Hospital of Orange County, California, USA, investigated the associations between malnutrition diagnoses and subsequent covid-19 severity, using medical records for 8,604 children and 94,495 adults (older than 18 years) who were hospitalized with covid-19 in the US between March and June 2020. Patients with a diagnosis of malnutrition between 2015 and 2019 were compared with patients without the condition.

Malnutrition hampers the proper functioning of the immune system and is known to increase the risk of severe infections for other viruses, but the potential long-term effects of malnutrition on covid-19 outcomes are less clear.

Malnutrition hampers the proper functioning of the immune system and is known to increase the risk of severe infections for other viruses, but the potential long-term effects of malnutrition on covid-19 outcomes are less clear.

Louis Ehwerhemuepha and colleagues, who authored the study, found that of the 520 children with severe covid-19 (6% of sample size), 39 (7.5%) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition; and 125 (1.5%) of 7,959 (98.45%) children with mild covid-19 had suffered malnutr. Of 11,423 adults with severe covid-19 (11% of sample size), 453 (4%) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition, compared with 1,557 (1.8%) of 81,515 (98.13%) adults with mild covid-19.

Louis Ehwerhemuepha and colleagues, who authored the study, found that of the 520 children with severe covid-19 (6% of sample size), 39 (7.5%) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition; and 125 (1.5%) of 7,959 (98.45%) children with mild covid-19 had suffered malnutr. Of 11,423 adults with severe covid-19 (11% of sample size), 453 (4%) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition, compared with 1,557 (1.8%) of 81,515 (98.13%) adults with mild covid-19.

Children older than five and adults aged 18 to 78 years with previous diagnoses of malnutrition were found to have higher odds of severe covid-19 than those with no history of malnutrition in the same age groups. Children younger than five and adults aged 79 or above were found to have higher odds of severe covid-19 if they were not malnourished compared with those of the same age who were malnourished. In children, this may be due to having less medical data for those under five, according to the authors. The risk of severe covid-19 in adults with and without malnutrition continued to rise with age above 79 years.

Children older than five and adults aged 18 to 78 years with previous diagnoses of malnutrition were found to have higher odds of severe covid-19 than those with no history of malnutrition in the same age groups. Children younger than five and adults aged 79 or above were found to have higher odds of severe covid-19 if they were not malnourished compared with those of the same age who were malnourished. In children, this may be due to having less medical data for those under five, according to the authors. The risk of severe covid-19 in adults with and without malnutrition continued to rise with age above 79 years.

“Public health interventions for those at highest risk of malnutrition may help mitigate the higher likelihood of severe covid-19 in this group," the authors said. The report holds significance for India when child and maternal malnutrition is responsible for 15% of the country's total disease burden. The fourth round of national family health survey (NFHS), conducted in 2015-2016, found that the prevalence of underweight, stunted and wasted children under five was at 35.7, 38.4 and 21.0%.

“Public health interventions for those at highest risk of malnutrition may help mitigate the higher likelihood of severe covid-19 in this group," the authors said. The report holds significance for India when child and maternal malnutrition is responsible for 15% of the country's total disease burden. The fourth round of national family health survey (NFHS), conducted in 2015-2016, found that the prevalence of underweight, stunted and wasted children under five was at 35.7, 38.4 and 21.0%.

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