News Column

Flu Shots Less Effective for the Obese

Oct. 26, 2011
Flu Shots, obesity, obese, fat

The overweight just can't catch a break. Not only are the obese subject to a slew of well-known health risks, including heart disease and diabetes, new research has found that flu vaccines are less effective in the significantly overweight.

The International Journal of Obesity published a study that contrasts the effects of seasonal flu vaccine between adults that are overweight, obese and healthy weight. While the nearly 500 subjects studied appeared to have similarly beneficial effects initially, more than half the obese subjects experienced a drop in flu antibodies by a factor of four. Only 25 percent of the healthy-weight subjects experienced such a drop.

This and other factors led to the study's conclusion that "obesity may impair the ability to mount a protective immune response to influenza virus."

The full study regarding the reduced effectiveness of the flu vaccine on the obese can be found here.

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