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Under- and Overnutrition Dynamics in Chinese Children and Adults (1991-2004)


Dearth-Wesley, Tracy; Wang, H.; & Popkin, Barry M. (2008). Under- and Overnutrition Dynamics in Chinese Children and Adults (1991-2004). European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 62(11), 1302-1307.


Objective: To examine trends in under- and overweight prevalence from 1991 to 2004 among adults and children in China by income and residence differentials.
Methods/Subjects: Prevalence, average annual changes and annual relative changes in under- and overweight were determined. In 1991, 2848 children and 6806 adults were surveyed. The 2004 survey included 1566 children and 6172 adults.
Results: Higher average annual reductions in underweight prevalence were found among children, particularly rural children, when compared with adults. With respect to income, low-income children and adults experienced the greatest average annual reductions in underweight prevalence. The trend for increased overweight was more pronounced than the trend for decreased underweight. Intensified trends were found among adults (versus children) and males (versus females). Relative to baseline prevalence, overweight increased fastest among adults in low-income and rural populations.
Conclusions: Rapid increases in the overweight prevalence, particularly as found among low-income and rural Chinese adults, will likely lead to a shift in the burden of obesity-related chronic diseases toward the poor. Associated economic and health implications will further challenge the country's health care system, restrain economic development and widen existing disparities between the rural and urban as well as between the rich and poor populations of China.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition


Dearth-Wesley, Tracy
Wang, H.
Popkin, Barry M.