Asian Americans: Thinner Not Necessarily Healthy

Asian American family

Background: Asian-Americans tend to be thinner than their white, black, or Hispanic counterparts, but this does not necessarily translate to health, at least according to new USA data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Results: About 38 percent of Americans of Asian descent are overweight (Body Mass Index over 25), compared to 66 percent for whites, 76 percent for blacks, and nearly 80 percent for Hispanic Americans. But, Asian adults are equally as likely to have high blood pressure as white adults, and the rate of high cholesterol among Asian-American is about the same as it is among white, black, and Hispanic adults in the USA.

My Take: Body Mass Index (BMI) matters greatly for health (aim for 20 to 25), but is not the whole story. The authors of this study put it well:

At any given BMI, Asian adults may have more body fat than white adults.

This is the first time that Asian-Americans have been included in this national data looking at huh blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high body mass index. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

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Reference: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm)

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