Healthcare Symposium Tackles Obesity

Joan Facelle, MD, moderated the 7th Annual Healthcare Symposium, “Obesityand Weight Gain During the Pandemic,” on February 23, 2021.

During the 7th Annual Healthcare Symposium, “Obesity and Weight Gain During the Pandemic,” a panel of experts discussed the “quarantine 15” and how obese patients fared with COVID-19.

Lisa Hirsch, MD, an Internist with Bon Secours Medical Group, stressed that obesity increases the risk of poor outcomes with COVID-19. “It not only increases the risk of severe illness, but increases the need for critical care services.  It triples the risk of hospitalizations, increases the risk of death, and although it is too early with the vaccine to know, other vaccines have had decreased efficacy with overweight people,”  she said.

Hirsh said that factors leading to pandemic weight gain included stress, boredom, gyms closing down, more accessibility to the kitchen, and an increase in baking. Her advice to lose the weight involved three steps:  motivation, plan, and compliance.

Other panelists included Jill L. Brodsky, MD, Pediatric Endocrinologist, CareMount Medical Urgent Care; Michelle S. Kleinman, Public Health Nutritionist, Rockland County Department of Health; and Robert Ranieri, Senior Vice President, Rose & Kiernan, Inc.

The symposium took place via Zoom on February 23, 2021, and was moderated by Joan Facelle, MD, Former Rockland County Commissioner of Health and Vice Chair of the Dominican College Board of Trustees.