The objective of this review was to investigate the prevalence of obesity among migrant Asian Indians globally. The primary outcomes of interest included the incidence of obesity as measured objectively by body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and body fat.Methods
All published studies that investigated obesity rates in migrant Asian Indians were considered for inclusion in the review. Studies were included if they had more than 100 participants and reported objective measures of obesity. A literature search was performed using the following databases Medline (2000–10), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (2000–11), Excerpta Medica Database (2000–current) and the Cochrane Controlled Studies Register (Issue 1, 2011 of Cochrane Library). In addition, the reference lists of relevant studies and conference proceedings were also scrutinised. Two reviewers independently assessed the eligibility of the studies for inclusion in the review, the methodological quality and then extracted details of eligible studies. Data were analysed using the Review Manager software.Results
Ten studies investigating the obesity indices in Asian Indians were eligible for this review. All ten trials that reported on BMI values demonstrated significantly higher BMI values among migrant Asian Indians when compared with other migrants and the native population (standardised mean difference 0.36; 95% confidence interval 0.30, 0.41). A greater proportion of Asian Indians had BMIs greater than or equal to 30 when compared with other ethnic groups. Up to 80% of the Asian Indian women had a waist circumference greater than the recommended value of 88 cm.Conclusions
Based on the available evidence, the obesity indices among migrant Asian Indians are significantly greater when compared with the native population and those living in India, particularly among women. This is likely to contribute to the high levels of diabetes and coronary heart disease in this population. Culturally appropriate strategies to reduce obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, in this ethnic group are urgently needed.