Biobank data says Taiwanese body fat levels exceed average
By Queena Yen ,The China Post\
December 20, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Academia Sinica (中央研究院) announced yesterday that, based on the Taiwan Biobank database (台灣人體生物資料庫), Taiwanese people have a higher body fat percentage compared to the worldwide general standard.
Healthy body fat levels typically fall between 17 and 23 percent of net body mass. However, figures in Taiwan Biobank show that 53.52 percent of men and 72.65 percent of women in Taiwan have a body fat percentage which exceeds 23 percent of their body mass.
The database also found that gastric ulcers are the most common disease among men, while uterine myoma is the most common among women.
As nations around the world are all making efforts to build up biobanks and collect more information on genes for medical research, Taiwan has been carrying out the Taiwan Biobank project for one year. The Academia Sinica, which is in charge of the project, is prepared to invest NT$7 billion over the next ten years.
Shen Chen-Yang (沈志陽), co-director of Taiwan Biobank, said the researchers can cross-compare the data collected and research the cause of various diseases. Once the cause has been identified, researchers can develop new methods to treat it, Shen said.
Shen used lung cancer patients as an example to explain the benefits of building up a biobank. Although people know that there is some relation between smoking habits and lung cancer, the real cause of lung cancer in one patient will need to be traced back to the patient's history. The database can help doctors check a patient's history and give the best treatment for the case.
The Academia Sinica announced the general body fat figure of Taiwan and the most common diseases to show how the data can help people understand their health condition. Shen said these are only the initial achievements of this project and there will be more in the future.