Coronavirus Chronicles — The World-Renowned Grim Twins

Obesity and coronavirus celebrate their convergence to form what some call colliding pandemics and others call a perfect storm of elements seemingly designed to further the careers of both Obie and Covie, the Grim Twins, who are unsurprisingly still around. Those two have got each other’s backs, and it was all predicted before the results of their alliance really started to manifest in the physical plane.

The partnership of the two plagues is nothing new, and no one should be the least bit surprised. For instance, a paper was submitted back in June of 2020 and published in April of 2021, whose title spelled it out — “Childhood obesity and SARS-CoV2: dangerous liaisons.”

The Background paragraph of that meta-study says,

These diseases, albeit extremely different, have a pandemic pattern of diffusion and have enormous direct and indirect effects both on health and lifestyle. Two authors independently extracted data using predefined data fields and rated study quality. Two main key words were considered, obesity and COVID-19, pointing a particular focus on pediatric patients.

They found what so many other researchers have also found — an increase in childhood obesity caused by less physical activity, more screen time, disturbed sleep patterns, and inferior diets. With COVID-19 added to the picture, the scientists also observed that social distancing and lockdowns ranging from suggestive to strict…

[…] could have even more problematic and enduring effects considering that obese children are more susceptible to psychiatric disorders.

When this work was being done, the “direct effects and significant links” between obesity and COVID-19 were not yet readily apparent, but a creeping weight increase was showing up in young adults, so it became increasingly easy to predict where the trend was heading. The Centers for Disease Control had published a paper stating that:

Mechanisms are likely to be multifaceted, particularly since obesity itself is the result of a complex interaction between genetic, hormonal and environmental factors. Obesity could have a significant impact on mechanical lung function… It is clearly more difficult to intubate or to perform imaging in patients with obesity. Moreover, as mentioned before, overweight results in a chronic state of inflammation which can impair the immune response.

The writing was on the wall, and actually had been for some time. Back in 2014, an article written by James Hamblin for The Atlantic included the sentence,

Over all, the pandemic of physical inactivity, as Hillman and colleagues put it in their Pediatrics journal article today, is “a serious threat to global health.”

That pandemic was just preparing the ground, in readiness for when COVID-19 would show up and the real fun could begin. Recently Caroline Chen wrote — and proved by titling her article “Why Opening Restaurants Is Exactly What the Coronavirus Wants Us to Do” —

People have a bad habit of anthropomorphizing the coronavirus: ascribing human-like intentions to it…

Sure, and some of the previous Childhood Obesity News posts are perfect examples of this anthropomorphization:

The Mutual Aid Pact Between Obesity and COVID-19
COVID-19 and Obesity Both Keep Bad Company
Hand in Hand, Obesity and COVID-19

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Childhood obesity and SARS-CoV2: dangerous liaisons,”, 04/02/21
Source: “Exercise Is ADHD Medication,”, 09/29/14
Source: “Why Opening Restaurants Is Exactly What the Coronavirus Wants Us to Do,”, 02/06/21
Images by William Pearce, Mike Keeling, and Vorstius/CC BY 2.0

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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