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The Nutrition Transition in China: A Cross-Sectional Analysis


Popkin, Barry M.; Ge, Keyou; Zhai, Fengying; Guo, Xuguang; Ma, Haijing; & Zohoori, Namvar (1993). The Nutrition Transition in China: A Cross-Sectional Analysis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 47(5), 333-346.


Diets and activity patterns are changing rapidly in low-income countries, and problems of undernutrition and overnutrition commonly exist side by side. China has conquered problems of food scarcity at the national level and has undergone a remarkable transition in the structure of its diet in the last decade. In this paper, we use data from the 1989 China Health and Nutrition Survey and national data from the State Statistical Bureau to explore China's recent history with respect to nutrition and to identify patterns of under- and overnutrition. In particular, we see that higher income levels, particularly in urban areas, are associated with consumption of a diet higher in fat and with problems of obesity. At the same time, undernutrition is a problem in important segments of Chinese society. There is a need for the Chinese government to consider ways to address these problems of deficit and excess jointly.

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition


Popkin, Barry M.
Ge, Keyou
Zhai, Fengying
Guo, Xuguang
Ma, Haijing
Zohoori, Namvar