Research

Vietnamese-American obesity rate as high as those of Caucasian-Americans

The recent press release from Mary Ann Liebert publishers was all about the new article in their peer-reviewed journal Childhood Obesity titled “Prevalence of Obesity Among Young Asian-American Children“, which can be viewed online for free.

Here’s my breakdown of the article:

There is GREAT diversity among the different ethnicity of Asian-Americans

  • As a whole, Asian-American children are at lower risk of being overweight and obese — but obesity rates vary greatly between different ethnicity
  • Until recently national surveys have not have large enough samples of Asian-Americans to differentiate between ethnicity
  • Education status, poverty status, and generational status vary greatly between different ethnicity. These factors may contribute to the risk of being overweight or obese

The results

  • Chinese-Americans (23.5%) and Indian-Americans (15.6%) were at significantly lower risk of overweight or obesity compared to whites (36%). The risk of being overweight or obesity for Vietnamese-American was 35%.
  • Vietnamese-Americans have the highest prevalence of obesity at 24% (not significantly difference from those of whites), even after controlling for maternal education, household povery status and generational status

A note to those interested in the future of healthcare

  • As the US population grows, the percentage of children belonging to ethnic minorities is going to increase disproportionately
  • There is a trend in this country as immigrants assimilate into American society, they are also assuming a higher risk for obesity and its complications
  • As the Asian-American population grows, our healthcare system needs to evolve to care for its patients. For example, we need to look into better predictors of amount of adipose tissue and cardiovascular risk than BMI. (BMI is a poor predictor for true obesity among Asian-Americans)
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