Obesity: impact of infections and response to vaccines

C. Tagliabue, N. Principi, C. Giavoli, S. Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obesity is a common condition that has rapidly increased in both the industrialised and developing world in recent decades. Obese individuals show increased risk factors for severe infections and significant immune system dysregulation that may impair the immune response to vaccines. The main aim of this paper was to review the current knowledge regarding the association between obesity and the risk and outcome of infections as well as immune response to vaccines. The results showed that obesity is a highly complex clinical condition in which the functions of several organ and body systems, including the immune system, are modified. However, only a small minority of the biological mechanisms that lead to reduced host defences have been elucidated. Relevant efforts for future research should focus on obese children, as the available data on this population are scarce compared with the adult population. Even if most vaccines are given in the first months of life when obesity is rare, some vaccines require booster doses at preschool age, and other vaccines, such as the influenza vaccine, are recommended yearly in the obese population, but it is not known whether response to vaccines of obese patients is impaired. The reduced immune response of obese patients to vaccination can be deleterious not only for the patient but also for the community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-331
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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