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Call to lower obesity threshold for British Asians

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The threshold for being overweight and obese should be lowered for British Asian people as they are more likely than white people to develop heart disease and diabetes, an expert has said.

India has already made the change to take into account of the extra risk faced by people of south-Asian origin, and one of the architects of the country’s health guidelines, Dr Anoop Misra, said the new measures should relate to anyone with a south-Asian background wherever they live.

People are considered overweight in the UK if their body mass index (BMI) is 25, while a figure of 30 is considered obese.

But to reflect the risks to India’s population, the country has lowered the limits to 23 and 25 respectively. It is said to have led to an extra 70 million people effectively being reclassified as overweight or obese.

Dr Misra told the BBC: ‘They should be followed for south Asians - Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalis - they are almost similar.

‘So for the time being, until guidelines for other population groups are available, I think this should be applicable for all south Asians - not only in the UK, but in any country of the world.’

Research by the British Heart Foundation has found that UK Asians are about 50% more likely to develop coronary heart disease than people of European origin.

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