A Culturally Competent Phenotypic Evaluation/Obesity Assessment in African and African American Populations: Pilot Study
BMI, a ratio of weight over height, is a culturally-biased tool imposed upon the scientific, academic and medical communities as an errant measure of obesity across ethnicity. Body Mass Index (BMI) relates mass (g) to a relative fat distribution with regards to height. Its genesis is from the actuarially derived and ethnically exclusive height and weight tables that promote the fictional notion of inter-ethnic ideal weights that would be later adopted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a competent measure of adiposity. Best practice, movement towards individualized medicine and deployment of effective models that impact the diabetes epidemic and its related precursors like insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, requires terminal use of BMI, a biologically meaningless and crude indicator of obesity, in favor of effective and culturally competent non-relative body composition evaluation of genetically determined adiposity that untenably compares values among groups. African Americans are among the increasingly affected groups for diabetes and posses unique composition variation requiring proper intra-cultural evaluation independent of inter-ethnic Eurocentric assumptions that over assesses obesity risk. Incorporating use of 4C models to evaluate adiposity and assess risk for diabetic predisposition and onset provides an effective unbiased assessment of the cultural components inherent within body composition variation among ethnicity, age, gender. Obesity and type II diabetes onset and pre-disposition is assessed phenotypically, in creation of a body mass profile among African and African American groups, using 4C model, photography, anthropometry, somatotype and genetic evaluation. Environmental obeseogenic cultural factors are also explored.