Cardiometabolic abnormalities among normal-weight persons from five racial/ethnic groups in the United States: A cross-sectional analysis of two cohort studies

Unjali P. Gujral*, Eric Vittinghoff, Morgana Mongraw-Chaffin, Dhananjay Vaidya, Namratha R. Kandula, Matthew Allison, Jeffrey Carr, Kiang Liu, K. M.Venkat Narayan, Alka M. Kanaya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: The relationship between body weight and cardiometabolic disease may vary substantially by race/ethnicity. Objective: To determine the prevalence and correlates of the phenotype of metabolic abnormality but normal weight (MAN) for 5 racial/ethnic groups. Design: Cross-sectional analysis. Setting: 2 community-based cohorts. Participants: 2622 white, 803 Chinese American, 1893 African American, and 1496 Hispanic persons from MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) and 803 South Asian participants in the MASALA (Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America) study. Measurements: Prevalence of 2 or more cardiometabolic abnormalities (high fasting glucose, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels and hypertension) among normal-weight participants was estimated. Correlates of MAN were assessed by using log-binomial models. Results: Among normal-weight participants (n = 846 whites, 323 Chinese Americans, 334 African Americans, 252 Hispanics, and 195 South Asians), the prevalence of MAN was 21.0% (95% CI, 18.4% to 23.9%) in whites, 32.2% (CI, 27.3% to 37.4%) in Chinese Americans, 31.1% (CI, 26.3% to 36.3%) in African Americans, 38.5% (CI, 32.6% to 44.6%) in Hispanics, and 43.6% (CI, 36.8% to 50.6%) in South Asians. Adjustment for demographic, behavioral, and ectopic body fat measures did not explain racial/ethnic differences. After adjustment for age, sex, and race/ethnicity-body mass index (BMI) interaction, for the equivalent MAN prevalence at a BMI of 25.0 kg/m2 in whites, the corresponding BMI values were 22.9 kg/m2 (CI, 19.5 to 26.3 kg/m2) in African Americans, 21.5 kg/m2 (CI, 18.5 to 24.5 kg/m2) in Hispanics, 20.9 kg/m2 (CI, 19.7 to 22.1 kg/m2) in Chinese Americans, and 19.6 kg/m2 (CI, 17.2 to 22.0 kg/m2) in South Asians. Limitation: Cross-sectional study design and lack of harmonized dietary data between studies. Conclusion: Compared with whites, all racial/ethnic minority groups had a statistically significantly higher prevalence of MAN, which was not explained by demographic, behavioral, or ectopic fat measures. Using a BMI criterion for overweight to screen for cardiometabolic risk may result in a large proportion of racial/ethnic minority groups being overlooked. Primary Funding Source: National Institutes of Health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-636
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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