Trends in overweight among school children and adolescents in seven Chinese Provinces, from 1991–2004
Zhang J, Seo DC, Kolbe L, Middlestadt S & Zhao W.
Objective. To examine trends in body mass index (BMI) in relation to energy intake and expenditure among Chinese school children and adolescents from seven Provinces during 1991–2004, a time of rapid economic development in China. Methods. Combined cross-sectional data derived from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (N=1 977 in 1991, 2 048 in 1993, 2 350 in 1997, 1 872 in 2000, and 1 275 in 2004) was utilized to assess BMI and prevalence of overweight. Sequential multiple regressions were conducted to assess the extent to which changes in energy intake and expenditure accounted for variation in BMI. Results. Overall, the prevalence of overweight among school children and adolescents doubled from 1991 to 2004. It increased from 6.5% to 16.1% for children aged 6–11 years and from 3.3% to 6.2% for adolescents aged 12–18 years. Changes in energy intake, physical activity, and sedentary activity explained 12% and 28% of variance in BMI, respectively, for children and adolescents. Conclusions. Chinese youths, especially children aged 6–11 years, became overweight rapidly during 1991–2004, which coincided with rapid economic growth in China. Effective policies and interventions are needed to curb the overweight epidemic among Chinese youths.