Obesity Indicators and Chronic Illness among Chinese Americans: A Pilot Study

Shan Liu, Mei R. Fu, Sophia Huey-Lan Hu, Vincent Y. Wang, Robert Crupi, Jeanna M. Qiu, Chuck Cleland, Gail D'Eramo Melkus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chinese Americans have increased rates for obesity in the United States. Little is known about obesity indicators and chronic illness, and the relationship between them in Chinese Americans.

Methods: A descriptive and cross-sectional study was designed. Chinese-American adults were recruited from a community health center in New York. Obesity indicators including waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC), Body Mass Index (BMI), weight to hip ratio, weight to height ratio, fasting blood glucose (FPG), Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) were evaluated. Chronic illnesses were assessed using a researcher developed self-report checklist and verified by medical record review.

Results: Among 162 Chinese American participants, who were recruited, 94 subjects had fewer than three chronic illnesses and 68 subjects had three or more chronic illnesses. The three most common chronic illnesses in this population were diabetes (65.4%), hypertension (46.9%), and eye problem (38.3%). Controlling for all demographic factors, numbers of chronic illnesses remained significant associations with obesity indicators of WC (p=0.006), HC (p=0.020), weight to height ratio (p=0.011), HbA1C (p=0.026). Obesity indicators also had significant associations with individual chronic illness of diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, eye and food problems.

Conclusion: General Obesity indicator (BMI), central obesity indicators (WC, HC, weight to height ratio) and HbA1c were significantly associated with chronic illnesses in Chinese Americans.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Obesity indicators
  • Chronic illness
  • Chinese Americans


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