Asian Americans at a higher risk for undiagnosed heart diseases as previously used metrics in cardiovascular health assessments have been inaccurate, a recent study published by the American Heart Association has found.
Previous reports, which commonly use the standard BMI thresholds, have concluded that Asian Americans had a higher percentage with ideal cardiovascular health and a lower percentage with poor cardiovascular health compared with white Americans. It has been suggested in earlier studies that Asian Americans with lower BMI are at higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
The research team, led by Dr. Jing Fang, is the first to assess the Asian Americans’ cardiovascular health using Asian‐specific BMI, which is lower than the normal “normal” BMI (18.5 to 24.9) among the general population.
The scientists have posted that using standard BMI cut points for overweight and obesity among Asian populations may fail to identify some individuals who are at increased cardiovascular risk.
To classify normal weight in Asian populations, the study used a BMI cut point <23, which was proposed by the World Health Organization/International Association for the Study of Obesity/International Obesity Task Force.
As it turns out, the rates of ideal cardiovascular health among Asian Americans matched the ideal among Whites when using a lower Asian-specific body mass index (BMI).
According to the study’s authors, these findings “highlight the need for the application of population-specific and culturally appropriate metrics when assessing [cardiovascular health].”
Asian Americans, who are one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States, make up 5.6% of the overall population. According to the AHA, over half of Asians with diabetes often go undiagnosed.