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New Study Warns Why Obese People Should Quarantine Twice As Long

And just how much longer is pretty shocking.

A new research study from Italy has concluded that those with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 should self-quarantine for double the amount of time as those who fall below the medical level of obesity. Aka, anyone with a BMI over 30 should self-quarantine for 28 days instead of 14 if they've had any potential exposure to coronavirus, this new research suggests.

Right now, information about both the susceptibility and effects of coronavirus continues to emerge as epidemiologists and medical experts learn more about the deadly COVID-19 contagion. According to a report from the Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Healthcare in Milan, Italy, doctors evaluated possible interactions between obesity and COVID-19 based on evidence seen with a similar virus (influenza) and its affect on obese people.

Related: The #1 Worst Food to Eat During a Pandemic

The study concludes that obese people are potentially more contagious than normal weight COVID-19 patients for three primary reasons.

First, obese patients shed a virus like influenza for a longer period of time (up to 104% longer) than lean subjects, potentially increasing the window in which they can spread the virus to others.

Second, increased inflammation in obese patients weakens the immune system, which can make virus symptoms worse. And finally, a higher body mass has been linked to a higher amount of contagions a person expels when breathing, especially among males.

For these three reasons, the Milan-based study authors write, "Quarantine should be prolonged in obese with respect to lean subjects, presumably doubled." In other words, anyone with a BMI over 30 should self-quarantine for 28 days if they believe they have been exposed to coronavirus.

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We've known for a while that those with compromised immune systems or pre-existing conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and that being dangerously overweight raises your risk of death three times. Dr. Mark Hyman revealed this alarming finding in a recent blog post, which raised concerns between the link of coronavirus deaths and severity of symptoms amongst the obese population in the U.S.

Sixty percent of all Americans technically have a body mass index (BMI) of over 30%, which is the medical level that signifies obesity. Roughly a third of those 78 million obese U.S. citizens have a BMI of over 40%, which classifies them as morbidly obese. This puts much greater stress on their vital organs, regardless of a potential battle with COVID-19.

This new research suggests that if you are obese and have had COVID-19, you should self-quarantine for four weeks instead of 14 days. If you are obese and have not contracted coronavirus, you will want to be particularly cautious until the pandemic abates considerably. This also applies to everyone who lives in an area where the virus is still actively spreading. To keep yourself safe while grocery shopping (which may be your only outing these days), check out this essential story that will help guide you and keep you safe.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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