Body mass index and waist circumference thresholds for intervening to prevent ill health among black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups

Corporate author: Public health guidance, PH46

Publisher: NICE

Publication date: July 2013

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This guidance aimed to determine whether lower cut-off points should be used for black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups in the UK as a trigger for lifestyle interventions to prevent conditions such as diabetes, myocardial infarction or stroke.

It is aimed at commissioners, managers and practitioners with public health as part of their remit working within local authorities, the NHS and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors,

The evidence confirms that these groups are at an equivalent risk of diabetes, other health conditions or mortality at a lower BMI than the white European population. But it was not sufficient to make recommendations on the use of new BMI and waist circumference thresholds to classify whether members of these groups are overweight or obese.

There was also insufficient evidence to make recommendations on the full range of health conditions considered, or all-cause mortality (most of the evidence came from diabetes studies).

As a result, this guidance supports previously published NICE recommendations on diabetes prevention and extends them to black African and African-Caribbean groups. It also highlights recommendations from NICE and other sources in relation to awareness raising, BMI measurement and thresholds that can be used as a trigger for intervening.