The purpose of this study was to focus on whether solely obesity (measured by BMI) leads to an increased risk of COVID-19 mortality in terms of excess in-hospital deaths. As the grim milestone of one million deaths in the United States from COVID-19 was reached, one could assume the disease would continue to coexist with humanity in the long term. While vaccination continued to limit the spread of COVID-19, it was essential to investigate risk factors that may exacerbate the severity of the illness in humans. Obesity is already a global pandemic affecting 40% of Americans and over 650 million people worldwide. Obesity is connected to an entire range of clinical conditions including some of the leading causes of death worldwide making it a more generalizable statistic. Furthermore, the purpose of this study was to conduct a systemic review of major risk factors between obesity and COVID-19, and this analysis shall ascertain which factors have the most predictive value in determining mortality and severity of the condition. Ten research studies of 3,780,926 COVID-19 patient cases were included. Meta-analysis results indicate a pooled OR of 0.93 (0.71-1.23, p = 0.627) for in-hospital mortality of obese patients relative to non-obese patients when adjusted for confounders. All comorbidities associated with the development of severe disease were found to have an equal chance of leading to mortality. In other words, obesity did not lead to a statistically significant risk of dying from COVID-19.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Strutt, Tara


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine


Biomedical Sciences

Degree Program

Neuroscience Track



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date