Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2020 Oct 2;13:3471-3479. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S267952. eCollection 2020.
Mounting evidence shows a disproportionate COVID-19 burden among Blacks. Early findings indicate pre-existing metabolic burden (eg, obesity, hypertension and diabetes) as key drivers of COVID-19 severity. Since Blacks exhibit higher prevalence of metabolic burden, we examined the influence of metabolic syndrome on disparate COVID-19 burden. We analyzed data from a NIH-funded study to characterize metabolic burden among Blacks in New York (Metabolic Syndrome Outcome Study). Patients (n=1035) were recruited from outpatient clinics, where clinical and self-report data were obtained. The vast majority of the sample was overweight/obese (90%); diagnosed with hypertension (93%); dyslipidemia (72%); diabetes (61%); and nearly half of them were at risk for sleep apnea (48%). Older Blacks (age≥65 years) were characterized by higher levels of metabolic burden and co-morbidities (eg, heart disease, cancer). In multivariate-adjusted regression analyses, age was a significant (p≤.001) independent predictor of hypertension (OR=1.06; 95% CI: 1.04-1.09), diabetes (OR=1.03; 95% CI: 1.02-1.04), and dyslipidemia (OR=0.98; 95% CI: 0.97-0.99), but not obesity. Our study demonstrates an overwhelmingly high prevalence of the metabolic risk factors related to COVID-19 among Blacks in New York, highlighting disparate metabolic burden among Blacks as a possible mechanism conferring the greater burden of COVID-19 infection and mortality represented in published data.