Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Aditi Vyas

Reader 2

Sheryl Miller

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Rights Information

2023, Arjan S Deol


Obesity is defined as a disease where abnormal or excessive fat accumulation presents risks to one’s health. It is also associated with a wide variety of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, and cardiovascular health. In recent years, the rates of obesity have continued to grow in the United States, especially amongst the Indian-American community. Asians have a lower BMI cutoff ( ≥27.5 kg/m2) for obesity instead of the standard ≥30.0 kg/m2 recommendations by CDC due to a higher prevalence of weight-related diseases at lower BMI and carrying 3-5% more body fat than an average Western European. In this study, we seek to address if the consumption of certain dishes specific to the Indian diet and the amount of time spent exercising offer a potential explanation for the increasing rates of obesity for Indians residing in the United States. To implement this study, we designed a survey that asked participants about their height, weight, dietary, and exercise habits. We calculated their BMI and analyzed their scores using a modified Likert Scale score with scores ranging from 1-5. In addition, we conducted a correlation between BMI and Likert Scale scores for each question. We found no significant correlations between the Likert Scale scores on the survey and BMI. This can potentially be attributed to the small sample size (n=34). However, the obese group, on average, reported exercising less, eating out more, consuming more sweets and fried foods, and adding sugar to their drinks when compared to the healthy weight group. And, 70.6% of respondents were overweight or obese, supporting the trend that weight related issues are becoming more and more prevalent in Indian-American communities. For future studies, research needs to be conducted with a larger sample size and more survey questions. Additionally, the survey needs to span the entire United States and incorporate the amount of time residents have resided in the US. The results of this survey in conjunction with the results of other surveys can help develop culturally appropriate solutions to combat weight related issues and diseases in the Indian-American community.