Body Mass Index Cut-Off For Identifying Non-Communicable Diseases in Malaysia
Introduction Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are among the leading causes of death and contributes to approximately 70% of all deaths worldwide. Elevated body mass index (BMI) is recognized as a major risk factor for NCDs. Several studies have determined various BMI cut-offs for classifying dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes or at least one cardiovascular risk factor (CRF) 2,3,4 . • For Malaysian adults, the proposed optimal BMI cut-off points for the risk of diabetes mellitus, hypertension
... tus, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia varied from 23.34kg/m2 to 24.14kg/m2 for men and from 24.04kg/m2 to 25.4kg/m2 for women3 . However, they were determined based on data collected in 2006, more than a decade ago. Objective The aim of this study is to verify the sensitivity and specificity of these cut-off points for the Malaysian adult population using data from a recent national survey Methods [Refer to Results]. Results The total number of respondents aged ≥ 18 years was 10,472 (4785 males and 5687 females). Majority aged between 31 to 59 years. 51.0% Malay, 21.5% Chinese, 11.1% Other bumiputras, 10.6% other ethnic groups and 5.8% Indian. The prevalence of BMI above 23.0 kg/m2 was 66.0% (BMI range from 14kg/m2 to 55kg/m2). Discussion / Conclusion Our findings indicate that the proposed BMI cut-offs (23.3 to 24.1 kg/m2 for men and 24.0 to 25.4 kg/m2 for women) correctly identified more than 67% of those with NCDs and correctly identified more than 39% of those without. The BMI cut-off points proposed by the previous study showed acceptable sensitivity but relatively low specificity. Therefore, we suggest that the use of these proposed BMI cut-offs for classification of overweight among Malaysian adults should be revised periodically to increase its sensitivity and specificity for the NCDs screening and weight management programs.