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Experts Want Lower Obesity Threshold in British Asians

by Tanya Thomas on July 13, 2009 at 12:32 PM
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 Experts Want Lower Obesity Threshold in British Asians

Experts have called upon to lower the threshold for being overweight and obese in British Asians.

Indian health chiefs have carried out changes in measuring system to take into account that people of south Asian origin are more likely than whites to develop heart disease and diabetes.


They also insist other countries should follow suit for people of South Asian origin.

The global standards used to assess whether someone is overweight or obese are based on the data derived from Caucasians.

According to these standards, people with body mass index of 25 or more are considered overweight and they are obese if it goes above 30.

However, in India, these standards have been lowered to 23 and 25. They also have lower thresholds for waist circumference measurements.

Dr Anoop Misra, who helped to draw up India's guidelines, said that the new measures should be applied for people with a South Asian background wherever they live.

"They should be followed for South Asians - Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalis - they are almost similar," the BBC quoted him as saying.

"So for the time being, until guidelines for other population groups are available, I think this should be applicable for all south Asians - not only in the UK, but in any country of the world," he added.

Dr. Ponnusammy Saravanan, from the South Asian Health Foundation, said that more research was needed before treatment is brought forward.

"There is no doubt that lifestyle modifications will prevent future diabetes and cardiovascular disease. That is clearly proven," he said.

"However there's still very limited evidence of introducing drug treatment and bariatric surgery at a lower threshold for South Asians. We clearly need more studies on those areas before we embark on a wider scale in the NHS," he added.

Although Professor Stephen Field, president of the Royal College of GPs, supports earlier intervention with drugs and surgery for British Asians, he didn't agree that Indian approach should be applied in the UK.

"The evidence is there. This is an urgent situation because of the increase in diabetes across the Asian population in the UK. Our patients are at risk. They need to be identified early, and treated aggressively," he said.

Source: ANI


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