Prevalence of Obesity Varies Among Asian American Subgroups

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Prevalence of obesity by standardized BMI varies from 16.8 percent in Filipino Americans to 6.3 percent in Vietnamese Americans

MONDAY, Oct. 3, 2022 (HealthDay News) — There is considerable heterogeneity in the prevalence of obesity among different Asian American subgroups in the United States, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Nilay S. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues quantified the prevalence of obesity in Asian American subgroups among U.S. adults in a cross-sectional study conducted in the United States from 2013 to 2020. The analytic sample included 2,882,158 adults from the U.S. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys. Of these, 2,547,965 were non-Hispanic White (NHW); 263,136 were non-Hispanic Black (NHB); and 71,057 were non-Hispanic Asian (NHA) and included 13,916 Asian Indian, 11,686 Chinese, 11,815 Filipino, 12,473 Japanese, 3,634 Korean, and 2,618 Vietnamese Americans.

The researchers found that the adjusted prevalence of obesity by standardized body mass index (BMI) thresholds was 11.7, 39.7, and 29.4 percent among NHA, NHB, and NHW participants, respectively. The prevalence was 16.8, 15.3, 11.2, 8.5, 6.5, and 6.3 percent in Filipino, Japanese, Asian Indian, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese Americans, respectively. Using modified criteria (BMI ≥27.5 kg/m2), the prevalence was 22.4 percent in NHA participants overall, and was 28.7, 26.7, 22.4, 17.4, 13.6, and 13.2 percent in Filipino, Japanese, Asian Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese Americans, respectively.

“The burden of obesity and its associated risks for cardiometabolic consequences may be underrecognized without studying each Asian American subgroup individually,” the authors write.

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