Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk Among South Asian Americans

Ashwini Deshpande, Nilay S. Shah, Namratha R. Kandula*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: South Asian Americans experience higher cardiometabolic risk and disproportionately high rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to other racial and ethnic groups in the United States. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent evidence about the role of obesity in CVD risk in South Asian Americans and identify key evidence gaps and future directions for research and interventions for obesity in this group. Recent Findings: South Asian Americans are predisposed to abdominal obesity and have a higher distribution of visceral fat, intermuscular fat, and intrahepatic fat compared to adults of other race and ethnic groups. In this population, the risk for cardiometabolic disease appears to be elevated even at a normal body mass index. Social, cultural, religious, interpersonal, and environmental factors are related to obesity and obesity-related behaviors among South Asian Americans. Summary: There is a relatively high prevalence of obesity in South Asian origin populations in the United States, who have unique socio-cultural determinants of overweight and obesity. Future research should clarify why the risk for metabolic disease and CVD is elevated at normal BMI in the South Asian American population and environmental and other structural factors that may influence obesity in this group. Interventions must be adapted to the social and cultural context of South Asian Americans to improve effectiveness and implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Cardiovascular Risk Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Obesity
  • South Asian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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