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Public Health Nutr. 2002 Feb;5(1A):215-21.

The underweight/overweight household: an exploration of household sociodemographic and dietary factors in China.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27516-3997, USA.



The goal of this paper is to explore the hypothesis that the nutrition transition is related to households having an underweight and an overweight member simultaneously (under/over households and under/over pairs).


The 1993 China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) was used to test the association between being an under/over household and household characteristics related to the nutrition transition. Sociodemographic and diet patterns were tested for the main age combinations of the under/over pairs.


In China, 8.1% of all households were found to have underweight and overweight members within the same household.


Results are from the 1993 China Health and Nutrition Survey and are based on a sample of 13814 persons from 3340 households.


The under/over household was more urban, had a higher income and was more likely to have assets such as a television, a motor vehicle and a washing machine, even after controlling for sociodemographic confounders. The under/over household had a diet that was higher in fat and protein compared with the underweight and normal weight households. There were no significant differences between the under/over and overweight households, with many of the associations near unity. Comparisons of the under/over subgroups by age of the under/over pairs showed some differences by income and occupation, but not for diet.


It is imperative, as more individuals become exposed to the diet and lifestyle patterns of the nutrition transition, to find effective public health programmes that can simultaneously promote a healthy lifestyle, improve diet quality and address both undernutrition and chronic disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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