Objective: This paper aims to review
the current literature in order to compare different ethnic groups with respect
to the known racial disparities in the risk of obesity-related morbidity and mortality,
thus orienting clinical practitioners for a better practice in light of evidence-based
Methods: Literature review using
key words - obesity, metabolic syndrome, ethnic differences, BMI, cardiovascular
risk - through PubMed database from 2000 to now.
Results: The prevalence of metabolic
syndrome and cardiovascular diseases as complications of overweight and obesity
are variable among different ethnicities worldwide. Recent studies contra-indicate
the use of global cutoff points for measures like body mass index (BMI) and waist
circumference (WC) as it has been demonstrated that, for similar BMI and WC values,
different populations present distinct patterns of body shape and fat deposition.
For instance, South Asians are at increased risk of cardio-metabolic disorders even
with a lesser degree of body adiposity.
Conclusions: Instead of a direct
cause-effect relationship, biologic/genetic and environmental factors like socioeconomic
status, culture, religion, health habits, geographic location, and their intricate
interactions form the complex basis of ethnic disparities on predisposing to obesity-related
diseases, thus the importance of an individualized analysis of the obesity indexes,
in order to optimize patient management and to reduce health risks.
Keywords: obesity, BMI, adiposity, ethnicities,
metabolic syndrome, diabetes
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