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Nearly 50 percent of people hospitalized for the flu are obese

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Almost half of all adults in the U.S. who have been in the hospital for flu this season are obese.

Sunday, USA Today reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said 46 percent of U.S. adults hospitalized for influenza since January 4 were obese.

Health experts say, typically, the percentage of obese patients hospitalized for flu is around 20 to 30 percent.

Joseph Bresee, a CDC influenza expert, told USA Today, they don't know why obese patients seem to be more heavily affected by the flu this season compared to previous years. Bresee says the trend could be linked to immunological effects. Being overweight or obese is associated with a less efficient immune system, as well as respiratory issues.

As Examiner.com reported last year, scientists believe the high saturated fat levels found in junk food and fast food lower immune systems.

Pregnant women are also being hospitalized more than usual this season. So far, 22 percent of pregnant patients have been hospitalized, as opposed to the typical average of 4.6 percent, according to the CDC.

Bresse says, "I think we're seeing the same sort of pattern emerge we saw in 2009."

The majority of flu cases this season have been caused by the H1N1 strain, the same strain that was a global pandemic during the 2009 – 2010 flu season.

It's important to keep your immune system up during flu season. Eat healthy, get rest and keep hydrated.

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