Especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that the Dutch get to know the importance of a healthy lifestyle and that they are provided with knowledge about it. The Partnership Overweight Netherlands (PON), together with many doctors, scientists and administrators, is committed to making a positive contribution to the mission of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport: ‘The Netherlands is healthy and well’.
That is why this group this week made an appeal to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, to increase the knowledge of the Dutch about the positive effect of a healthy lifestyle on the immune system. This appears to be of great importance in the current fight against COVID-19.
The vast majority of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are overweight or seriously overweight (obesity). Obesity leads to a more serious course of COVID-19 in various ways, in particular due to a chronically impaired immune system. Vaccines are also generally less successful in obese people.
A healthy lifestyle (healthy diet, sufficient exercise, sleep and relaxation, quitting smoking and moderate alcohol) can strengthen the immune system in many people within a few weeks and can reduce the risk of a serious course of COVID-19. This is already known from numerous scientific studies and applies to both people with (serious) overweight and people with a healthy weight.
Better response to vaccines
Immediately adopting a healthier lifestyle could also possibly contribute to a better response to the vaccines, which are still in development and are not expected to be available until a few months at the earliest. Prof. Liesbeth van Rossum: ‘It is important that – especially in these times of corona – accessible lifestyle advice is made easier to find and propagated. In this way, everyone can arm themselves better if they become infected with a virus such as the Corona virus despite the current corona measures. ‘