Prevalence of overweight/obesity in Chinese children

Jian-Meng Liu, Rongwei Ye, Song Li, Aiguo Ren, Zhiwen Li, Yinghui Liu, Zhu Li
Archives of Medical Research 2007, 38 (8): 882-6

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this paper was to report the prevalence of overweight/obesity by area, age, and gender in the year 2000 and to explore at what age adiposity rebound as measured by BMI occurs for Chinese children.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 262,738 children aged 3.5-6.4 years in 26 counties/cities in China. Weight and height were measured from March 2000 through July 2000 by local trained health workers. International age- and gender-specific BMI cut-off points were used to obtain comparable prevalence rates of overweight/obesity. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) of being overweight/obesity for different comparisons.

RESULTS: There were 19,390 overweight (16,738) or obese (2,652) children, resulting in an overall prevalence rate of 7.4% (95% CI: 7.3-7.5%). Girls were more likely to be overweight or obese than boys (OR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.11-1.17). Compared with children living in the southern urban area, multivariate ORs for those living in northern rural and southern rural areas were 2.58 and 1.15, respectively. Compared with children aged 6.0-6.4 years old, multivariate ORs for children aged 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 and 5.5 years were 1.96, 1.88, 1.56, 1.53, and 1.11, respectively (p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Childhood overweight/obesity in Chinese children in 2000 is similar to the conditions of Great Britain or the U.S. in the 1980s or earlier. Age at adiposity rebound as measured by BMI for Chinese children is >6.5 years old.

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