As people continue to comply to, and put massive attention on, the guidelines of social distancing, washing hands, no hugging (humans), and “stay at home” mandates on the one hand, on the other hand (comparatively speaking) little attention is put on what we can do to minimize our risks for the underlying causes that increase complications, even death, for those who do contract corona-virus.

Underlying causes are conditions someone has prior to contracting the virus. If the underlying causes can be reduced, or eliminated altogether, the number of cases with severe complications, including death, could likely be dramatically reduced.

As many as 70% of COVID-19 deaths are due to the underlying cause of obesity.

Additionally, according to Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer, WebMD, told Fox News. “Patients with diabetes and heart disease do worse when they get infected. In addition, if you have lung problems such as severe asthma, you are also at greater risk.”

“Too much alcohol can also contribute to difficulties in fighting infection,” Whyte said. “Diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver problems, respiratory diseases, and even severe obesity can make it much harder to recover if you contract the virus.”

It’s a fact, being overweight or obese increases the chances of developing the common type of diabetes, type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease, respiratory problems and other conditions that are more deadly than ever due to COVID-19.

Indications so far are that people with diabetes and other chronic medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), will have a worse prognosis if they become infected with COVID-19.

Armed with this type of information, doesn’t it make sense to do all possible to minimize the underlying causes? Unfortunately, even when something makes sense, often people don’t do what is common sense.

Why? Because it requires a change in lifestyle. The very change that could not only minimize one’s risk but improve the quality of their overall life.

Louisiana State Health Department

In a recent post by the Louisiana State Health Department, it was documented that diabetes is the No. 1 underlying condition in people who have died of COVID-19 in Louisiana.

The post continues with stating that only 3 percent of those who have died had no underlying health conditions. Right behind diabetes are the following three underlying causes.

-Obesity (25 percent)
-Chronic Kidney Disease (23 percent)
-Cardiac (21 percent)

There’s No Denying It Anymore… Animal Consumption is DEADLY

People can continue living (and dying) as if there is nothing they can do or use this time to educate themselves, making much needed changes to their eating and exercise protocol.

One of the greatest causes to our underlying health issues is the consumption of animal and dairy products. There is plenty of hard science that shows the elimination of animal and dairy substantially improves one’s health. Eating a diet rich in whole foods that are plant-based is likely the best defense against the underlying causes.

Advertising Trumps Common Sense

One is left to wonder why so many people refuse to stop eating animal and dairy. In a word, advertising. That’s right. The meat and dairy manufacturers spend millions of dollars to convince people they cannot live without animal protein.

Additionally, lobby groups are on the rise in the dairy industry. These include dairy farmers and manufacturers, like Land O’Lakes butter and Mayfield Ice Cream. “Lobbying spending by the dairy industry has fluctuated over the years but has trended upward. Lobbying doubled from 2003 to 2013, from $4 million to $8 million. Contributions, meanwhile, have grown from about $3 million to $5 million over the course of the last three presidential elections.” Full article

The challenge resides not only with mass media, lobbying and misguided beliefs that we need animal protein to survive, but also in the lack of healthy food choices in areas where they are desperately needed.

Food Deserts Are Also to Blame

In some areas, even if people want to eat healthy, they may not be able to for one simple reason, the food is not available. These people live in what is referred to as a food desert.

A food desert is an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, in contrast with an area with higher access to supermarkets or vegetable shops with fresh foods, which is called a food oasis.

For some, it is nearly impossible to find stores that carry produce and healthy food choices.

According to Marian Wright Edelman (Children’s Defense Fund), “The health and vitality of people living in many urban neighborhoods can differ from block to block depending on how near or far they are to a grocery store or supermarket that offers reasonably priced fresh fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and nutritionally dense. In many urban neighborhoods, it’s easier to buy a pint of liquor, a fried chicken wing, or a gun than a fresh tomato. The failure of supermarket chains to locate stores that offer fresh fruits and vegetables in inner-city communities—a form of food redlining—has had a profound impact on the nutrition, health, and well-being of families lacking cars or access to public transportation to get to well-stocked grocery stores. As a consequence, children growing up in families trapped in food desert zip codes are at risk of becoming obese and developing early hypertension and full-blown high blood pressure that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.”

Although the issue of food deserts is very complex, the solution is actually very simple. Create an environment that supports the availability of healthier food choices for those who are currently unable to access such foods.

This requires an allocation of funds to educate, implement and maintain healthy food choices for under-served populations.

It Won’t Be Solved Overnight

We didn’t get where we’re at overnight and we won’t solve the problem in a day or two. Yet, we can start right here, right now, to turn things around.

To pretend we are unable to do anything is not realistic. We CAN and SHOULD do something immediately.

Right now, there is a major reboot taking place. In order for the reboot to having a lasting impact, we must go beyond the surface changes. We MUST get to the root of the problem. And the root of the problems starts with our thinking around what we are consuming, the amount of exercise we engage in and our overall lifestyle choices.

Each one of us MUST take personal responsibility for our health. To rely on a system that is so broken that people are literally dying in the hallways of hospitals and nurses and doctors are not given the lifesaving equipment and protection gear they need is to give up your power.

Information Is Power Through Immediate Implementation

A great place to start is by arming ourselves with information that can literally save our lives. Some of the best resources to educate yourself are books, videos, documentaries and podcast shows that focus on a whole food, plant based diet.


-Forks Over Knives
-What the Health
-Food Inc.


-Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
-How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger
-The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell

Podcast Shows

-The Rich Roll Podcast
-Plant Based Eating for Health
-That Vegan Couple

There are countless resources available literally at your fingertips. All it takes is the willingness to educate yourself on the truth of healthy eating and the willingness to make the change.

Author's Bio: 

Kathleen Gage is committed to raising awareness about healthier lifestyle choices that are compassionate to animals and the planet. She has owned her business since 1994. As a business strategist, she is also an author, speaker and consultant.

Access her blog at and her podcast show at