In the Original Article, Association between Body-Mass Index and Risk of Death in More Than 1 Million Asians, Zheng et al. present pooled analyses of the associations between BMI and risk of death in more than 1.1 million people from 19 cohorts in Asia after a mean follow-up of 9.2 years. Underweight was associated with a substantially increased risk of death in all Asian populations.
Over the past few decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity in many countries. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1 billion adults worldwide are overweight; of these, at least 300 million are obese.
• What risks are associated with an increased BMI?
Obesity is associated with multiple chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, and several cancers.
• How does BMI differentially affect risk in Europe and Asia?
Studies have shown that for a given BMI, Asians generally have a higher percentage of body fat than do Europeans. Asian populations have also been shown to have an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia at a relatively low level of BMI.
Morning Report Questions
Q: What BMI cutoff points for overweight and obesity have been suggested for Asian patients?
A: The suggested cutoff points for Asians are greater than/equal to 23.0 for overweight and greater than/equal to 25.0 for obesity.
Q: What did this study conclude?
A: Underweight was associated with a substantially increased risk of death in all Asian populations. The excess risk of death associated with a high BMI, however, was seen among East Asians but not among Indians and Bangladeshis.