Malnutrition linked to higher risk of death from COVID-19

© Narint Asawaphisith

COVID-19 patients with a history of malnutrition have an increased need for mechanical ventilation and risk of death, according to new research

Louis Ehwerhemuepha, from Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and colleagues investigated the association between malnutrition and COVID-19 using medical records from 8,604 children and 94,495 adults hospitalised between March and June 2020.

Patients with a diagnosis of malnutrition between 2015 and 2019 were compared to patients without.

Severe COVID-19

The results showed that of 520 (6%) children with severe COVID-19, 39 (7.5%) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition, compared to 125 (1.5%) of 7,959 (98.45%) children with mild COVID-19.

Of 11,423 (11%) adults with severe COVID-19, 453 (4%) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition, compared to 1,557 (1.8%) of 81,515 (98.13%) adults with mild COVID-19.

Children older than five and adults aged 18-78 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 an increased risk of severe COVID-19 if they were not malnourished compared to those of the same age who were malnourished.

The full study has been published in Scientific Reports


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