The recommendations are based upon the most current scientific evidence, which is rigorously reviewed by the Association's multi-disciplinary Professional Practice Committee.
Body mass index is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify underweight, overweight and obesity in adults.
Asian Americans are a diverse population, comprised of individuals of Chinese (24%), Filipino (18%), Asian Indian (16%), Vietnamese (11%), Korean (11%), Japanese (8%), and other Asian (13%) ancestry.
"We have been working on BMI specifically for Asian Indians for nearly 15 years and on various international fora for diabetes and obesity it was agreed and accepted that there is a need for a lower BMI cut-off to prevent the diabetes epidemic" said Dr. Anoop Misra, chairman, diabetes and metabolic diseases, Fortis CDOC Hospital, Delhi.
"There have been ample studies from India as well in which we have concluded that our BMI and weight are not equal to that of our western counterparts" said Dr.V. Mohan, eminent diabetologist and researcher based in Chennai.
"In a consensus statement released by us that comprised diabetologists and bariatric surgeons from across the country, we unanimously agreed that the BMI cut off for South Asians needed to be lower as we have more fat and less muscle in the same BMI category compared to westerners," Dr. Mohan said.
Asians exhibit unique features of obesity - excess body fat, abdominal adiposity, increased intra-abdominal fat and fat deposits in ectopic sites (liver and muscle).
Obesity is a major driver for the widely prevalent metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in Asians. Based on percentage of body fat and morbidity data, limits of normal BMI are narrower and lower in Asian Indians than in white Caucasians.
Though BMI is the most widely used clinical method of measuring obesity, in the case of the Indian population, the measurement of waist circumference (WC), should also be considered as important as BMI.
Indian researchers emphasizing on the importance for screening parameters said, "Waist circumference should be used as a measure of abdominal obesity with Asian Indian specific cut-offs. Both BMI and WC should be used together [with equal importance] for population- and clinic-based metabolic and cardiovascular risk stratification."
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