U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention - Leading the effort to treat and prevent diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives


Quick Guide Cards

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Why is this important?

BMI Calculator Tape, Haprinder Calipers, Medical Scale
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NOTE: Access to this information is not restricted; however, the information found here is intended for use by medical providers. Some videos contain graphic images. Patients should talk with their medical providers about any specific concerns.

  • American Indians and Alaska Natives experience high rates of overweight and obesity.
  • Obesity increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, HTN, elevated lipids, CVD, CKD, pregnancy complication and degenerative joint disease.
  • Individuals with a BMI ≥30 kg/m2 are more likely to develop diabetes.
  • Waist circumference is a practical tool to evaluate a patient’s abdominal fat.
  • Skinfolds are a method to determine the subcutaneous fat layer thickness; a pinch of skin is precisely measured by calipers at standardized points.

Body Mass Index

  • Body Mass Index (BMI) is an indirect measure of body fatness.
  • Ranges for BMI (kg/m2):
    • Underweight is defined as below 18.5
    • Normal is between 15.5 and 24.9
    • Overweight is defined as 25.0 to 29.9
    • Obese is ≥30

Waist Circumference

  • Waist circumference (WC) is used to evaluate abdominal fat.
  • Increased health risks are found at:
    • >40 inches (>102 cm) for men
    • >35 inches (>88 cm) for women

Skinfold

  • The skinfold measure itself (in millimeters) is the principle outcome measure to gauge responsiveness to lifestyle therapy (weight loss).
  • Skinfold fat is precisely measured at several standardized sites on the body; preferred sites are either the subscapular or triceps.
  • Skinfold measures are not to be used for screening but as a serial measure of adiposity change between patient visits.
  • Results may vary if measurements are not consistently taken at the exact locations.
Overview How To Other Resources EHR Documentation

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention | Phone: (505) 248-4182 | Fax: (505) 248-4188 | diabetesprogram@ihs.gov