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Pandemic | 3 min. read

Obesity and COVID-19: Stay safe and hang in there

Over the past several weeks, the world has been hit by the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Millions of people have been asked to stay at home, often without being able to see family and friends.

Novo Nordisk is concerned about all our patients, including people living with obesity and other serious chronic diseases. Our thoughts go out to those directly affected as well as those caring for an affected family member. Novo Nordisk is committed to ensure uninterrupted supply of our medicines and to support local governments, health authorities and patient organisations to do what we can to improve the supply of healthcare equipment, research expertise and facilities, and information to help address concerns related to the availability of our medicines (see novonordisk.com).

Medicine being handed from a healthcare professional to a recipient.

Novo Nordisk is committed to ensure uninterrupted supply of our medicines.

-Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, President and CEO, Novo Nordisk

COVID-19 is a serious public-health threat, so great care should be taken to avoid it. The reason is that senior people and people with pre-existing medical conditions including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, pulmonary disorders and obesity with related conditions are at a higher risk of experiencing complications and becoming seriously ill.

As the World Obesity Federation (WOF) points out, “obesity-related conditions seem to worsen the effect of COVID-19”. Several professional obesity organisations stress that special caution is urged for people with a BMI of 40 and above, and avoiding infection is paramount for people with obesity.

Protect your loved ones and stay at home. In case of COVID-19 symptoms, everyone is advised to follow the recommendations provided by the WHO and their local health authorities.

Special caution is urged for people with a BMI of 40 and above.

-European Association for the Study of Obesity, Public Health England, Obesity Society US

While it may seem intuitive, there is no need to stockpile on anti-obesity medication. Novo Nordisk is well prepared to handle emergency situations and have an inventory policy that serves long-term supply. Currently, we are not experiencing any supply constraints in our production, distribution or warehouses.

We are aware that health authorities and pharmacies in some countries are doing their best to ensure that medicines are always available for those who need it. We are in close contact with our partners to monitor their inventory levels and take appropriate actions.

Tips and links

As it may be particularly challenging to stay at home and face uncertainty, we talked to Dr. Michael Vallis, a health psychologist and Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University in Canada to get his insight into the emotional reactions people are having to the coronavirus pandemic – and what can be done about them, check out Coping in the age of COVID-19

Useful links:

  • WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
  • Diabetes Canada: https://www.diabetes.ca/resources/tools---resources/faq-about-covid-19-and-diabetes
  • ADA: https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/treatment-care/planning-sick-days/coronavirus
  • IDF: https://www.idf.org/our-network/regions-members/europe/europe-news/196-informa-tion-on-corona-virus-disease-2019-covid-19-outbreak-and-guidance-for-people-with-diabe-tes.html
  • Diabetes UK: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/coronavirus
  • WOF: https://www.worldobesity.org/news/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-outbreak-for-peo-ple-living-with-obesity
  • CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
  • Obesity UK guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
  • CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/index.htm
  • The Obesity Society: https://www.obesity.org/download/3327/

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