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Longitudinal Analysis of Dietary Patterns in Chinese Adults from 1991 to 2009


Batis, Carolina R.; Sotres-Alvarez, Daniela T.; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; Mendez, Michelle A.; Adair, Linda S.; & Popkin, Barry M. (2014). Longitudinal Analysis of Dietary Patterns in Chinese Adults from 1991 to 2009. British Journal of Nutrition, 111(8), 1441-1451. PMCID: PMC3966951


Our aims were to identify the changes or stability in the structure of dietary patterns and the tracking, trends and factors related to the adherence of these patterns in China from 1991 to 2009. We used seven waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey and included 9,253 adults with ≥3 waves complete. Diet was measured over a 3-day period with 24-hr recalls and a household food inventory. Using factor analysis in each wave we found that the structure of the two dietary patterns identified, remained stable over the studied period. The traditional southern pattern was characterized by high intake of rice, fresh leafy vegetables, low-fat red meat, pork, organ meats, poultry and fish/seafood and low intakes of wheat flour, corn/coarse grains; and the modern high-wheat pattern was characterized by high intake of wheat buns/breads, cakes/cookies/pastries, deep-fried wheat, nuts/seeds, starchy roots/tubers products, fruits, eggs/eggs products, soy milk, animal-based milk and instant noodles/frozen dumplings. Temporal tracking (maintenance of a relative position over time) was higher for the traditional southern, whereas adherence to the modern high-wheat had an upward trend over time. Higher income, education and urbanicity level were positively associated with both dietary patterns, but the association became smaller in the later years. These results suggest that even in the context of rapid economic changes in China; the way people chose to combine their foods remained relatively stable. However, the increasing popularity of the modern high-wheat pattern, a pattern associated with several energy-dense foods is cause of concern.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

British Journal of Nutrition


Batis, Carolina R.
Sotres-Alvarez, Daniela T.
Gordon-Larsen, Penny
Mendez, Michelle A.
Adair, Linda S.
Popkin, Barry M.