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Lower Asian obesity threshold call

The threshold for being overweight and obese should be lowered for British Asians because they are more likely to develop heart disease, a health expert suggests.

Dr Anoop Misra, who helped to draw up India's health guidelines, said people of south Asian origin are about 50% more likely than white people to develop heart disease and diabetes and as a precautionary measure the threshold has already been reduced in India.

Dr Misra said the measure should be applied no matter where people with a south Asian background live as they are still at increased risk.

In the UK people with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more are defined as overweight, a measure of over 30 is classed as obese.

But in India the limits have been lowered to 23 and 25 respectively to reflect the risks for their own population.

Dr Misra said: "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."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

British Heart Foundation