A new study including an Indian origin scientist has called for recalculation of obesity limit among South Asians.
South Asians around the world are at increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. They also get these chronic diseases at an earlier age.
The study from the University’s Departments of Health Sciences and Cardiovascular Sciences concluded that significantly lower BMI and waist circumference cut points for defining obesity are needed for migrant South Asians.
Dr Laura Gray and Professors Kamlesh Khunti and Melanie Davies led the research utilising data from over 6,000 participants screened for Type 2 Diabetes from Leicester.
“Our study shows that the conventional definition of obesity (BMI 30 kg/m2) needs to be lowered in migrant South Asians to detect equivalent levels of cardiovascular risk, based on levels of glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol,” said Professor Khunti who is Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester.
“Our study suggests that migrant South Asians should be classed as obese and therefore at high risk of developing diabetes based on a BMI of between 23-28 kg/m2,” he noted.
The researchers also define similar lower cut points for waist circumference.
Professor Khunti stated: “This is the first study to reassess obesity definitions in a migrant UK south Asian population and could have important clinical implications.
“This research has huge implications globally for screening strategies for south Asians based on BMI and waist circumference cut-points. We need to lower these cut-points when screening for diabetes and cardiovascular disease in these groups,” he added.
Their study has been published in PLoS One, a journal of the Public Library of Science.