Assessing the relationship between obesity and type II diabetes among South Asian Indians in Houston A population based study

Omegie Linda Anabor, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objective: My study aimed at determining the association between obesity and diabetes prevalence in South Asian Indian immigrants in Houston, Texas. To also compare the prevalence odds of diabetes given obesity, using WHO-BMI criteria and recommended Asian ethnic-specific BMI criteria for obesity, as well as using WHO-standard waist circumference criteria and ethnic-specific criteria for abdominal obesity, across gender and age, in this population. Methods: My study was a secondary data analysis based on a cross-sectional study carried out on adult South Asian Indians who attended a local community health fair in Houston, in 2007. They recruited 213 voluntary, eligible, South Asian Indian participants aged between 18 to 79 years. Self reported history of Diabetes was obtained and height, weight, waist and hip circumference were measured. I classified BMI based on WHO-standard and ethnic-specific criteria, according to gender and age groups of 18–35 years, 36–64 years and 65 years and over. Waist circumference was also classified based on WHO-standard NCEP criteria and currently recommended ethnic-specific IDF criteria and analysis was done stratifying by gender and age groups. Results: The prevalence of diabetes in this population was 14.6%, significantly higher in older age groups (25.8%) and males (19.2%). The prevalence of DM was statistically similar in individuals who were overweight/obese compared to those not overweight/obese, however in overweight/obese individuals, there was a statistically significant difference in the prevalence of DM between WHO and ethnic-specific criteria for both BMI and waist circumference. In older adults and in males, ethnic-specific criteria identified significantly more as overweight/obese compared to WHO-standard criteria. Conclusions: Ethnic-specific criteria for both BMI and waist circumference give a better estimate for obesity in this South Asian Indian population. Diabetes is highly prevalent in migrant South Asian Indians even at low BMI or waist circumference levels and significantly more in males and older age groups, hence adequate awareness should be created for early prevention and intervention.

Subject Area

Asian American Studies|Public health

Recommended Citation

Anabor, Omegie Linda, "Assessing the relationship between obesity and type II diabetes among South Asian Indians in Houston A population based study" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1497569.