University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Identification of Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk in Ethnically and Racially Diverse Populations: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



African Continental Ancestry Group; *American Heart Association; Asian Continental Ancestry Group; Body Mass Index; Cardiovascular Diseases; Continental Population Groups; Female; Hispanic Americans; Humans; Male; Obesity; Prevalence; Risk Factors; United States; Waist-Hip Ratio


Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Services Administration | Preventive Medicine


The purpose of this scientific statement is to describe the limitations of current simple measures, such as the use of BMI with standard thresholds to identify overweight and obesity, as applied to racial and ethnic minorities. The statement also addresses potential alternatives, as well as the diagnosis of obesity based on multiple risk factors, including race and ethnicity. On the basis of our extensive, systematic review of current literature and in collaboration with the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Obesity Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, we have also made some key recommendations for clinical practice, research, and public health for improved identification of obesity and cardiovascular risks in a racially and ethnically diverse population.


AHA Scientific Statements, African Continental Ancestry Group, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, body mass index, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, waist circumference

DOI of Published Version



Circulation. 2015 Aug 4;132(5):457-72. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000223. Epub 2015 Jul 6. Link to article on publisher's site

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