Obese more vulnerable to flu

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2011, 14:12 PM IST

Washington: If you`re fat, you need extra protection from flu. New research says that excess weight makes flu vaccines less effective.

"The results suggest that overweight people would be more likely than healthy ones to experience flu illness following exposure to the flu virus," said study co-author Melinda Beck, professor in nutrition at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

The findings explain a phenomenon noticed during the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak: that obesity is linked with an impaired immune response to flu shots in humans, the International Journal of Obesity reports.

"These new findings seem to give us a reason why obese people were more susceptible to influenza illness during the H1N1 pandemic compared to healthy weight people," a university statement quoted Beck as saying.

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