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Obesity may aid survival of pneumonia patients

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Patients admitted with pneumonia are more likely to survive if they are obese, according to a study published online in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

Researchers from the University of Alberta studied the records of 79 inpatients that died from pneumonia in six hospitals. They found 12 were under weight, 36 were normal weight, 21 were overweight and 10 were obese.

Mortality was 10% for those who were normal weight and 4% for obese patients.

The researchers said obese patients may have had better survival rates because they had more nutritional reserves.

Lead author Sharry Kahlon said: “It might be a misregulation of the inflammatory system that allows these individuals to do better. These mechanisms still need to be better studied.”

She added that previous studies had demonstrated the existence of an “obesity paradox”, where it appeared to be good rather than bad for health to be obese in certain cicumstances.

However, she noted earlier research had usually found this in relation to chronic diseases and hers was one of a handful of studies to demonstrate the link with acute medical conditions.

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