For many people, being overweight or obese comes with serious health risks. One of these is a higher risk for type 2 diabetes than people at normal weights have. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests that anyone with a BMI over 25–which is classed as “overweight”–should see their healthcare providers regularly to check for diabetes, and take steps to avoid or delay the disease. (These steps include eating well, getting regular exercise, and lowering stress.) Recently, however, the ADA has said that this number may not be helpful for Asian Americans, who are at an even higher risk for type 2 diabetes than people of other ethnicities.
The ADA’s statement was published in the journal Diabetes Care. It said that healthcare providers should start testing Asian Americans for diabetes or prediabetes if they have a BMI over 23. This is two points below the cutoff for Caucasians, because Asian Americans tend to have problems with blood glucose control, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol levels at lower weights. Though this is a very diverse group of people, past research has shown that most are at a higher risk for diabetes even if they are at a “normal” weight according to the BMI scale.
The ADA wrote that Asian Americans are two times more likely to get type 2 diabetes than Caucasians. So, if you are of Asian descent, you may have to watch your weight even more closely than other people. If your BMI is 23 or more, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible to talk about ways you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Don’t wait until you gain more weight or have other diabetes risk factors, like poor blood glucose control, to start thinking about preventing the disease.