Menu Close

Dynamic Shifts in Chinese Eating Behaviors


Wang, Zhihong; Zhai, Fengying; Du, Shufa; & Popkin, Barry M. (2008). Dynamic Shifts in Chinese Eating Behaviors. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 17(1), 123-130.


The purpose of the study is to examine the dynamic eating behaviors of the Chinese people, focusing on snacking and the choice of cooking methods, and to identify the influences of socioeconomic factors on these eating behaviors. Data for this study were from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). There were 11780 subjects, older than two years (y), from the 1991 and 11169 from the 2004surveys respectively. Logistic regressions of pooled data were performed to evaluate how socioeconomic status (SES) was associated with two eating behaviors: snacking and consuming excessive amounts of fried foods. Simulation techniques were used to clarify the effects of the results that included significant interaction terms. Results showed that the rapid shift in the food and nutrient profile of the Chinese population is accompanied by equally profound changes in meal and cooking patterns. Snacking behavior is beginning to emerge and there are shifts away from the steaming and boiling of food to the, less healthy, frying of food. Income is positively associated with the consumption of both snacks and excessive fried food. Urban residents are also more likely to snack and to consume excessive amounts of fried foods than rural residents. These findings indicate that eating behaviors are beginning to change rapidly toward less healthy options in China. SES plays a vital role in the early stages of the eating behavior transition in China. Future health promotion programs targeting the higher-SES population will exert far-reaching effects on the improvement of health status in this group.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition


Wang, Zhihong
Zhai, Fengying
Du, Shufa
Popkin, Barry M.