Wednesday, October 14, 2020

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Obesity and Vaccines

"The most ethical diet just so happens to be the most environmentally sound diet and just so happens to be the healthiest."

                                                                                                --Michael Greger, MD

Until 2020 brought coronavirus into our lives, I admit I was unaware of the relationship between obesity and vaccine efficacy. 

Obesity is a strange bedfellow.  Medicines do not work as well when one is obese.  It turns out vaccines don’t work as well either. 

On August 6, 2020 the “America’s Obesity Epidemic Threatens Effectiveness of Any COVID Vaccine,” by Sarah Varney was published by Kaiser Family Foundation on  It appears that obesity interferes with the body’s immune response. 

“Will we have a COVID vaccine next year tailored to the obese?  No way,” said Raz Shaikh, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  “Will it still work in the obese?  Our prediction is no.”  

America’s children deserve access to good foods that promote health and help them maintain a healthy weight.  Highly processed foods, especially those with added sugars, contribute to obesity and inflammation.  Protecting the health of America’s children is about more than preventing the consequences from obesity.  The risks of obesity are mounting, in unimaginable ways, as we work daily to protect ourselves and our children from exposure to COVID-19.   

Who knew that obesity would become a major risk factor for viral infection, morbidity, mortality, and interference with vaccine efficacy?  It is more important than ever that we work to ensure ALL kids have access to healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, especially kids living in food deserts.  

With love,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.