“Our findings lend support to the need for prioritizing vaccine distribution, good nutrition and other preventive measures to people with cardiometabolic conditions, particularly among groups most affected by health disparities,” lead author Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, said in a statement.
In breaking down the numbers, the researchers noted that disparities were evident by age, race and ethnicity.
Together, the four preexisting conditions factored into 44.2 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations among those ages 18 to 49, 64.5 percent among those 50 to 64 years old and 73.9 percent among those 65 and older. The proportion of hospitalizations attributable to the four conditions combined was highest in Black adults of all ages, followed by Hispanics, according to the study. Among young adults ages 18 to 49, the four conditions jointly were estimated to cause about 39 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations among white subjects, compared with 50 percent among Black adults.
Separately, the preexisting conditions have a wide-ranging role across age, race and ethnicity among adults hospitalized with COVID-19.
- Diabetes ranged from 6.1 percent among white patients (ages 18 to 49) to 33.7 percent among Hispanics 65 and older.
- Hypertension ranged from 7.4 percent among Hispanics (18 to 49) to 38.1 percent among Blacks 65-plus.
- Heart failure ranged from 0.7 percent among white patients (18 to 49) to 28.2 percent among Black patients 65-plus.
- Obesity (BMI 30 to 40) ranged from 14.6 percent among Asians 65-plus to 24.1 percent among Hispanics (ages 50 to 64).
- Severe obesity (BMI >40) ranged from 6.7 percent among Asians (ages 18 to 49) to 16.9 percent among Black patients (18 to 49).
The estimates were extrapolated from data collected on more than 5,000 patients hospitalized from March 1 to April 8, 2020, in New York City with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19.