Characterizing the obese Asian Indian

Obesity Management

Most of us are under the impression that we are not overweight/ Obese or at lower risk when compared to people from the western world as we just have fat around our waists, while other parts of our body are lean.

Typical Asian Indian population has high waist circumference and are lean otherwise. This is more dangerous than having higher weight/ BMI.

Note that abdominal fat is the seat for deadly lifestyle diseases!

– Dr. Pooja, Senior Nutritionist

Being overweight/ obese-

  • Increases risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Is a risk factors for heart disease.
  • Increases chances of developing high blood cholesterol and diabetes

Two key measures are used to determine if someone is overweight or obese. These are body mass index, or BMI, and waist circumference.

BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height

BMI optimum values

BMI alone does not determine risk. For example, in someone who is very muscular or who has swelling from fluid retention (called edema), BMI may overestimate body fat. BMI may underestimate body fat in older persons or those losing muscle.

That’s why waist measurement is often checked as well. Another reason is that too much body fat in the stomach area also increases disease risk. A waist measurement of more than 80 cms (32 inches) in women and more than 90 cm (35 inches) in men is considered high.

We compare ourselves with Americans for everything and have even adopted their standards for height and weight as normal. The genetic patterns, environment and traditional dietary practices for both populations differ immensely and hence a comparison is not practical. As Asian Indians, we must use our ancestors /predecessors as reference standards for healthy living.

Assess, track and stay informed about your health with eKincare

Author: drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s