Objective: Asian Americans have low prevalence of overweight/obesity based on standard BMI cut points yet have higher rates of diabetes. We examined the prevalence of overweight/obesity, using lower BMI cut points recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for Asians, and diabetes in Asian American subgroups in California. Method: Secondary analysis of the 2009 adult California Health Interview Survey (n=45,946) of non-Hispanic Whites (NHW), African Americans, Hispanics and Asians (Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, South Asian and Japanese). WHO Asian BMI cut points (overweight=23-27.5kg/m2; obese≥27.5kg/m2) were used for Asian subgroups. Standard BMI cut points (overweight=25-29.9kg/m2; obese≥30kg/m2) were applied for other groups. Results: Among Asian subgroups, overweight/obesity was highest among Filipinos (78.6%), which was higher than NHWs (p<0.001) but similar to African Americans and Hispanics. Compared to NHW, diabetes prevalence was higher for Vietnamese, Koreans, Filipinos and South Asians with BMI=23-24.9kg/m2 and Koreans, Filipinos and Japanese with BMI=27.5-29.9kg/m2, the ranges WHO recommends as overweight or obese for Asians but not for other groups. Conclusions: Filipinos should be a priority population for overweight/obesity screening. Filipinos, Vietnamese, Korean, South Asians and Japanese have higher diabetes prevalence at lower BMI cut points. WHO Asian BMI cut points may have clinical utility to identify at-risk Asian Americans.
- Asian Americans
- Minority health
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health