Obesity and ethnicity

Corporate author: National Obesity Observatory

Publisher: Association of Public Health Observatories

Publication date: January 2011

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This paper provides an overview of the current evidence on the relationship between obesity and ethnicity for adults and children in the UK, in the context of what is known about obesity in the general population.There is continuing debate about the validity of using current definitions of obesity for non-white ethnic groups, for both adults and children. Different ethnic groups are associated with a range of different body shapes, and different physiological responses to fat storage. Revised Body Mass Index (BMI) thresholds and waist circumference measures have been recommended for South Asian populations who are at risk of chronic diseases and mortality at lower levels than European populations.