The Asian enigma: predisposition for low adult BMI among people of South Asian descent

  title={The Asian enigma: predisposition for low adult BMI among people of South Asian descent},
  author={Maarten Nub{\'e}},
  journal={Public Health Nutrition},
  pages={507 - 516}
  • M. Nubé
  • Published 1 April 2009
  • Medicine
  • Public Health Nutrition
Abstract Objective To investigate the Asian enigma, the phenomenon of relatively high levels of undernutrition among children and adult women in South Asia, despite more favourable records with respect to infant mortality, women’s education, food availability or other aspects of living conditions in comparison with, for example, sub-Saharan Africa. Design Literature has been explored to identify countries outside South Asia that are home to sizeable population segments from different ethnic… 
Does one size fit all? The case for ethnic specific standards to assess growth in South Asian children
Application of the developed height-for-age charts and lowered BMI cut-offs will expectedly lead to a better assessment of height and nutritional status (thinness, overweight) in this group and thinness rates will be lower while overweight will be detected earlier, leading to earlier preventive interventions.
Prepregnancy body mass and weight gain during pregnancy in India and sub-Saharan Africa
  • D. Coffey
  • Medicine
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2015
The first representative estimates of prepregnancy body mass index and weight gain during pregnancy for India and sub-Saharan Africa are presented and it is found that 42.2% of prepregnant women in India are underweight when they begin pregnancy compared with 16.5% of African women.
Appropriate Body Mass Index Cut-Offs to Determine Thinness, Overweight and Obesity in South Asian Children in The Netherlands
This is the first study proposing BMI cut-offs for South Asian children based on measurements from a prosperous population unaffected by the obesity epidemic, and it is recommended that these better reflect the health risks associated with thinness, overweight and obesity, and therefore may prevent the development of cardiometabolic disorders.
Trends in body mass index distribution and prevalence of thinness, overweight and obesity in two cohorts of Surinamese South Asian children in The Netherlands
The low mean BMI Z-score and high prevalence of thinness are likely expressions of the characteristic body composition of South Asian populations as thinness prevalence is likely to be overestimated and obesity underestimated.
Misclassification of stunting, underweight and wasting in children 0–5 years of South Asian and Dutch descent: ethnic-specific v. WHO criteria
WHO-CGS misclassify a considerable proportion of children from all ethnic groups as stunted in the first 6 months of life, and underweight and wasting are considerably overestimated in Surinamese Asian Indian children.
Unequal Households or Communities? Decomposing the Inequality in Nutritional Status in South Asia
Half of all undernourished women and children in South Asia are not found in the bottom 40% of wealth-poor households. We decompose the variation in nutritional outcomes to show that inequality
The Other Asian Enigma: Explaining the Rapid Reduction of Undernutrition in Bangladesh
It is found that rapid wealth accumulation and large gains in parental education are the two largest drivers of change, though health, sanitation, and demographic factors have played significant secondary roles.
Age, period and birth cohort effects on the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Taiwanese adolescents: a national population-based study
A decreasing temporal trend in overweight and obesity among adolescents in Taiwan from 2006 to 2014 is suggested, with the younger birth cohorts of the 1990s had greater odds of being overweight and obese than the older cohorts when they reached adolescence.
The Myth of Child Malnutrition in India
A common continuing criticism of the economic reforms in India has been that despite accelerated growth and all-around poverty reduction, the country continues to suffer from child malnutrition that


Malnutrition: a South Asian enigma.
Reductions in child malnutrition in South Asia require promotion of equal freedoms opportunities and rights for women--including the right to participate in decision making both within and outside the home to result in better health education and nutrition for women.
Association between body mass index and blood pressure across three populations in Africa and Asia
High BP exists in a background of undernutrition in populations at early stages of the epidemiologic transition in populations across Africa and Asia.
Obesity in South Africa: the South African demographic and health survey.
Obesity increased with age, and higher levels of obesity were found in urban African women, particularly women.
Epidemiology of undernutrition in adults in Dhaka slum households, Bangladesh
There was a sex difference with female subjects having a significant odds ratio for low BMI compared with male subjects, and under nutrition was related to demographic, economic, social and environmental factors.
High Prevalence of Anaemia among Women in Mumbai, India
It is concluded that nutritional interventions that focus on reducing fertility or iron supplementation during pregnancy are beneficial, but many women remain iron deficient and action is needed to improve nutritional status before pregnancy.
Body weight and mortality among men and women in China.
The results indicate that both underweight and obesity were associated with increased mortality in the Chinese adult population, and support the use of a single common recommendation for defining overweight and obesity among all racial and ethnic groups.
Role of gender in health disparity: the South Asian context
This work believes that individual and societal beliefs about and attitudes towards appropriate gender specific roles, and the choices of individuals and households on the basis of these factors, mean that women are disadvantaged with regard to health and health care.
Weight–height relationships among eight populations of West African origin: the case against constant BMI standards
Linear regression results indicate that the height/weight relationship implied by the use of constant BMI standards, is not found in these populations and that there is much variation across groups.
The distribution and mortality impact of chronic energy deficiency among adult Nigerian men and women
Under nutrition is an increasing problem in Nigerian men and women and intervention strategies both at the government and private sectors are urgently needed to increase food availability.
Ethnic differences in body mass index and associated factors of adolescents from minorities in Oslo, Norway: a cross-sectional study
Examination of ethnic differences in body mass index, food habits and physical activity among 15- and 16-year-old students in Oslo found that ethnicity should be taken into consideration when studying BMI and associated factors among adolescents.