Obesity Guidelines Revised For Asian-Americans Due To Greater Risk OF Development Of Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is perhaps one disease which is much feared and although there is a minor issue of insulin deficiency or resistance, the impact is so great that it may lead to debilitating conditions such as blindness or amputations or end stage multi-system failure. This is why doctors advice people to lean towards preventive measures rather than curative ones.

According to general observations, made over a long period of time, many clinicians have come to believe that Asians-Americans perhaps need more care where their weight is concerned. And since obesity is a big contributing factor in the development of diabetes, there was a general need of revision of guidelines.

Lead author, Dr. William Hsu reveals, “Clinicians have known this intuitively for quite some time.” Hsu is a part of Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School.

According to the guidelines from the American Diabetes Association people are considered overweight at BMI of 25 and obese at 30. Now, however, the latest guidelines say that Asian-Americans will now be considered for screening if they have a BMI of 23. The general population is screened at 25 or above. The reason that Asians are greatly predisposed is due to the kind of obesity they get. Weight gain in obesity in two principal locations: around the waist or in the hip region. Asians tend to get obese around their waist which is considered more risky than the other.

Regarding the trend observed by the clinicians, Hsu said, “They can see that Asian-Americans are being diagnosed with diabetes when they do not appear to be overweight or obese according to general standards. But if you use the previous association standard for diabetes screening of being age 45 or older with a BMI of [25] or above, you will miss many Asian-Americans who are at risk.”

Although these guidelines may be useful in screening those people who are at risk, these are still deficient because diabetes has numerous risk factors and only one of them is obesity. Medical personnel need to target lifestyle trends, as well as cultural differences which impart how a person is predisposed to certain health issues. According to the authors, there is much more research needed to point out many such ethnic differences.


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