Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Mathematical Sciences

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Nutrition & Diabetes

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BACKGROUND: Body mass index (BMI) represents a normalization of weight to height and is used to classify adiposity. While the capacity of BMI as an adiposity index has been experimentally validated in Caucasians, but there has been little testing Asian populations.

METHODS: To determine whether weight scales to height squared in Asian Indians across the general population and in Asian Indian tribes an allometric analysis on the power law model, W = αH

RESULTS: The unadjusted power was β = 2.08 (s = 0.02). The power for the general population (non-tribal) was β = 2.11 (s = 0.02). Powers when adjusted for tribe ranged from 1.87 to 2.35 with 24 of the 33 tribes resulting in statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences in powers from the general population. The coefficients of the adjusted terms ranged from -0.22 to 0.26 and therefore the scaling exponent does not deviate far from 2. Thresholds for BMI classification of overweight in the KNHANES database were BMI = 21 kg/m

CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirms that weight scales to height squared in Asian Indian males even after adjusting for tribe membership. We also demonstrate that optimal BMI thresholds are lower in a Korean population in comparison to currently used BMI thresholds. These results support the application of BMI in Asian populations with potentially lower thresholds.