About 50% of flu hospitalizations are obese

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

flu cells
It’s totally not fun feeling sick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 50% of the individuals hospitalized for the flu are obese.

Zack Moore, a medical professional with the North Carolina Division of Public Health, explains that these numbers are unusually high. See, normal percentages for flu-related obese hospitalizations are usually in the 20-30% range. Sadly, these aren’t the only numbers that are extraordinarily high.

The CDC also found very high rates of pregnant women being admitted to the hospital because of the flu. On average, expecting mothers only make up about 4.6%, but this flu season that number is as high as 22%. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why the percentages are so high in both groups.

However, according to CDC flu expert Joseph Bresee, it may have to do with the fact that the immune systems (that keep us healthy) of pregnant women and obese individuals are weaker, and they have breathing troubles.

Experts can’t say for sure if these rates will increase or decrease in the coming weeks; there’s still a large part of flu season to get through. “I expect this will go on for quite a few more weeks longer,” said Bresee. “The average flu season is 10 to 12 weeks, and we’re only a few weeks into it now.”

Featured image courtesy of Lance McCord on Flickr.