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Improve Your Metabolic Health to Reduce COVID and Other Disease Risk Severity

It’s been a year (or more depending on where you live) since COVID lockdowns began. A whole year, that’s enough time to see significant changes in your health IF that time was spent focusing on it.

Yes, I know gyms have been closed, demands have increased, and lives have changed, but I’m a positive and long-term thinker… during all of that, I have still focused on my families overall health and I’d like to help you do the same.

It is indisputable that age and health affects COVID infection severity. In fact, age and health affects nearly all disease severity and mortality risks.

For COVID, we need to wear masks in public, physical distance, AND focus on our metabolic health.

Improving our metabolic health will help us reduce risk for all diseases, so what are you waiting for? There is no time like the present to eat healthier, obtain or maintain a healthy weight, focus on blood sugar and blood pressure normalization, and move your body. Every day is a new opportunity to focus on your health.

American’s aren’t metabolically healthy

As I wrote about last April, a study published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, only 1 in 8 American adults (12%) have optimal metabolic health.  This is measured by having ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and a healthy waist circumference without having to use medications to normalize the values. 

According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) more than 2/3 of American adults are considered to be overweight or have obesity and this is projected to be 50% obesity by 2030!!!!

So what does having a healthy weight and metabolic health have to do with COVID – I’ll show you, and there has been so much researched on COVID this last year that writing about it makes it easy, so easy that I can let the title of a few research articles speak for themselves.  All of these articles are different despite some having similar titles.

It’s well studied that lifestyle factors such as current health, weight, stress management, exercise and diet all affect your risk outcomes.

Are you going to be able to find a study or two to contradict the numerous studies below?  Probably, but it won’t distract from the volume of evidence showing that focusing on health is worth it for COVID, other diseases, and longevity.  There are only positive outcomes when eating healthy, sleeping more, having a social support system, and getting moderate exercise.

Preexisting Conditions and COVID Risks

Again, American’s aren’t metabolically healthy.  This makes it so that if you have a preexisting condition such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, pre-diabetes of diabetes, fatty liver, obesity, or other inflammatory conditions then you are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die from COVID.  This virus is deadly for those who aren’t metabolically healthy.


Sedentary Lifestyle Creates Inflammation; Exercise Decreases Inflammation

Inflammation is involved in most diseases; cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, autoimmune diseases and more.  If we can moderately exercise, we can reduce our overall inflammation which will decrease pain, swelling of tissues, and disease risks.

Social Isolation and Stress Increase Disease Risks

We all think we know how to take good are of ourselves: eat your veggies, work out, and try to get enough sleep. But how many of us know that social connection is just as critical? Social connection is the experience of feeling close and connected to others. It involves feeling loved, cared for, and valued, and forms the basis of interpersonal relationships. Increasingly, social connection is understood as a core human need, and the desire to connect as a fundamental drive. During COVID it’s important to maintain physical distance AND retain social connectivity.


Is COVID racist?   No, but a lot of humans are unfortunately.  It’s important to remember, race isn’t a determinate for disease, racism is. The Native, Black, and Hispanic American populations are more likely to have pre-diabetes and diabetes, eat processed foods, as processed foods are cheaper, and have access to fewer resources (savings, employment, and health care).  This is a simplistic view on a very complex problem that this article can’t even begin to address.  American culture and laws need to change in many ways to ensure equality in education, employment, property availability, neighborhood quality, health, and a whole lot more.

What 23andMe found from 1 million study participants

23andMe now has a COVID risk test3 where you can assess your likelihood of getting a severe sickness from COVID and what they ask to assess risk, after studying more than a million participants, is your BMI (weight and height), exercise frequency, and pre-existing conditions. These factors make or break your risk.   They didn’t include genetics, just lifestyle habits, and since it’s lifestyle, it means you can do something about it!

Improving your Metabolic Health & Reducing Disease Risks

Currently, only 1 in 8 American adults has ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and a healthy waist circumference. These symptoms all trigger inflammation which affects your risks for COVID as well as a host of inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, arthritis, asthma, digestive disorders, autoimmune disorders… and more. Chronic inflammation is now thought of as the trigger for nearly all disease.

If you need help managing lifestyle factors such as weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, stress management, exercise, and diet reach out, I’m here to help!


  1. Prevalence of Optimal Metabolic Health in American Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2016
  2. Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake, Hall et al. Cell Metabolism, May 2019


Erin Williams, MSN CN LMP, is the founder of, a health and wellness company established in 2001. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Purdue, a master’s degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, and is currently studying to become a Functional Medicine Practitioner. Erin enjoys sharing her love of natural health and wellness with people through lectures, blogs, and consultations.

Post Author: EZBalanceWellness