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Click to add/remove this article to your list of 'My Favorites' Anthropometric thresholds for type 2 diabetes risk different for Asians, whites
January - 2 - 2008 

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Currently recommended waist circumference thresholds should be modified to optimize the discrimination of type 2 diabetes in Asian and white women and men, results of a study suggest.

Excess weight, particularly abdominal obesity, is recognized as a major determinant of diabetes risk in all populations, Dr. Rachel Huxley, from The George Institute for International Health, Sydney, Australia, and colleagues note in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

As a result, various indicators of overweight have been incorporated into guidelines for the early identification of individuals with type 2 diabetes. "However, the anthropometric cut points for different ethnic groups have been determined in various ways, leading to uncertainty about their applicability to diabetes screening," they explain.

In an attempt to clarify this uncertainty, Dr. Huxley and the Obesity in Asia Collaboration analyzed data for 155,122 individuals (86% Asian; 52% female) in 18 study populations from 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The investigators found that anthropometric cut points for the optimal discrimination of diabetes were lower in Asians compared with whites.

For Asian men, the optimal cut points were BMI 23.7, waist circumference 85 centimeters, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) 0.90 versus BMI 27.7, waist circumference 99 centimeters, and WHR 0.94 for white men.

For Asian women, the corresponding values were BMI 24.5, waist circumference 80 centimeters, and WHR 0.80 versus BMI 27.9, waist circumference 85 centimeters, and WHR 0.85 for white women.

Irrespective of which measure of excess weight is used, the prevalence of diabetes was consistently higher among Asians than whites at any given level of excess weight, "in agreement with earlier findings," the authors note.

Diabetes Care 2007;30:3116-3118.