Obesity highest among Filipino and Japanese Americans – study
Obesity rates among Filipino and Japanese Americans were the highest among Asian Americans, according to researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Filipino obesity rate is at 28.7% and for Japanese, 26.7%, rates close to the 29.4% rate among whites but still lower than the 39.7% rate of obesity among Blacks.
Researchers for the study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Oct. 4, adjusted the findings of the U.S. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which surveyed 70,000 Asian Americans from 2013 to 2020.
Northwestern’s researchers found that the U.S. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System masked actual obesity rates among Asian American adults because its survey lumped all Asian Americans into one group and used the standard body mass index (BMI) cutoff for obesity, instead of the suggested lower threshold for obesity in Asians.
Using the survey participants’ self-reported heights, weights, demographic data and the standard definition of obesity, the researchers estimated that the overall prevalence of obesity was 11.7% in Asian Americans. The results in different Asian subgroups ranged between 6.3% and 16.8%.
The researchers explained that studies must identify and address the specific factors that contribute to obesity in the Asian American subgroup, so that risks for chronic diseases can be mitigated more effectively.
The Asian American population is actually very diverse in “health behaviors, socioeconomic patterns, educational attainment, and English language literacy,” and studies must seek disaggregated findings.