2006 Volume 13 Issue 1 Pages 16-20
There has been a significant increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in Vietnam. We found that Vietnamese with T2DM had a normal body mass index (BMI), but high levels of total body fat and abdominal fat. Based on published reports together with our own findings, we believe that a sedentary lifestyle and an abundance of starchy foods and also Western style energy-rich foods are factors associated with disease. The staple food of the Vietnamese is still polished-rice which has high glycemic index values. In addition, a Westernized diet, and the chronic consumption of high-glycemic index foods together with a sedentary lifestyle result in insulin resistance and diabetes. The average BMI of T2DM patients is ≤ 23 kg/m2, greater than that 20 years ago. In addition,these patients have high levels of body fat, especially abdominal fat, measured as the waist to hip ratio (WHR ≥ 0.90). We therefore, tentatively suggest a BMI of 23 kg/m2 together with a WHR of 0.90 for males and 0.85 for females as new cutoff values for the risk of T2DM in Vietnamese. These findings have important implications for primary prevention because they indicate that screening and intervention should focus on high-risk populations.