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More Filipino-Americans are obese compared to other Asian-Americans

October 30, 2013 3:43am
Among all Asian-Americans, Filipinos are the fattest.

According to a study by the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health, Filipino-Americans are 70 percent more likely to be obese compared to the overall Asian-American population.

The study also showed that 14.1 percent of Fil-Ams are obese, the highest percentage among Asian-Americans.

Filipinos in the US also account for the second highest percentage of overweight, adult Asian-Americans, but not obese, at 33 percent. Asian Indians outweighed Filipinos by just one point at 34 percent.

The overall numbers of the study also dispelled the notion that Asian-Americans can't get fat - a trait from the “model minority” racial stereotype.

The stereotype complicates the problems Asian-Americans face in terms of health, University of Chicago professor of medicine Dr. Karen Kim told NBC News.

Kim explained that diseases associated with being overweight or obesity can appear in normal-weight Asians.

This is because Asians tend to have fat hidden between internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys. This makes them look less overweight, but their fat content is actually higher, Dr. George King of the Joslin Diabetes Center told Southern California Public Radio.

King and other physicians are campaigning to lower the Body Mass Index (BMI) cutoffs for Asian-Americans in medical studies.

In the same article, Dr. Jane Chiang of the American Diabetes Association said the new BMI cutoff must be adjusted per ethnicity, and suggested that factors beyond someone's weight must be considered in evaluating health.

BMI is used to calculate the weight of individuals involved in these studies, but the Daily Mail reported that the use of BMI has been discredited for being overly-simplistic.

An earlier report from the Reuters wire service quoted several physicians who concluded that BMI was not enough to evaluate body fat content, and agreed that people with healthy weight may still carry excessive fat. Rie Takumi/DVM, GMA News



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