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BMI string test: Dr Zoe reveals how to determine your risk of a serious Covid infection


BMI is a comparison of your weight and height and reveals if you’re a healthy weight. The NHS website offers a BMI calculator. Living with excess weight puts people at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19

According to figures published by the government last July, nearly 8 percent of critically ill patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units have been morbidly obese, compared with 2.9 percent of the general population.

So knowing your BMI is incredibly important. But for those who want a “quick guide” and don’t have a measuring tape or scales to hand, Dr Zoe Williams revealed the string test.

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, she explained: “Make sure it’s a long piece of string, stand on it, do a rough measure of your height.

“Pick up [the string] from the tip of your toe, fold it in half, and see if it will wrap around the widest part of your tummy.

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“If this meets, the chance you have obesity is lower.

“If it doesn’t, it’s definitely worth getting some scales and measuring your height.”

Excess body fat affects the ability of organs functioning properly.

It affects metabolism and increases a person’s level of visceral fat – body fat that wraps itself round a person’s internal organs.


Dr Zoe explained when this type of fat is sat there doing nothing it produces chemicals – it produces inflammatory chemicals.

And if you get COVID-19, the body reacts slightly differently, which is why more severe cases of the virus has been seen in people with obesity.

The TV doctor aded if your BMI is 40 and above to seek support from your GP.

While body fat can’t be removed, you may be eligible for tier 3 weight management services.

But Dr Zoe said it’s important to note BMI doesn’t always tell you how active you are, how much fruit and vegetables you eat, or how good your sleep is.

The uptake gap in Covid vaccines between people in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and white individuals has been revealed.

Uptake in black, Asian, mixed and other groups was 71.5% between 8 December and 14 February, compared to 85.6% in the white ethnic group.

A Public Health Wales (PHW) inquiry also found a gap between those living in the most and least deprived areas.

Dr Zoe commented: “Anybody who is at high risk – the vaccine is safe.

“There are valid reasons why people are afraid…I’ve been telling all my family to step forward and have the vaccine, and I’m encouraging everyone else to do the same.”


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