NICE, the medical advisory board, says that the body mass index calculations don’t work for all members of society. Their experts have warned that millions of ethnic minority groups in the UK could be at risk of weight related diseases not showing under current test parameters.
For a person from an ethnic minority to be healthy, they have to weigh slightly less than a white person of the same height. This means that the typical BMI health rating of 18.5 – 24.9 is no good for people in these groups. NICE is suggesting that a 18.5-23 rating should be used for Caribbean, Asian and African people and that a lower cut off for obesity should be used. It’s currently set at 30 but NICE want it set at 27.5.
“Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke are potentially life-threatening conditions, which people of African, Caribbean and Asian descent and other minority ethnicities are significantly more likely to develop than the wider population,” Professor Mike Kelly, NICE’s director of the Centre for Public Health said. "So it's vital that local authorities are supported in taking action to prevent these illnesses in people who have a high risk of developing them. Not only are people from these ethnic backgrounds up to six times more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they are 50% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. And they also suffer from these conditions at a younger age."