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Biomed Environ Sci. 2013 Jan;26(1):1-12. doi: 10.3967/0895-3988.2013.01.001.

Empirical changes in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Chinese students from 1985 to 2010 and corresponding preventive strategies.

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Institute of Child and Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, China.



To determine the extent of the obesity epidemic in school-aged Chinese children in 2010 and track the increasing trend in different socioeconomic regions over the preceding 25 years. Strategies for preventing childhood obesity are suggested.


We used a dataset provided by the Chinese National Survey on Students' Constitution and Health from 1985-2010. Subjects were 7-18-year-old students randomly selected from urban and rural areas in 30 provinces. Eight subgroups were created according to region and socioeconomic status.


Increased rates of the epidemic (overweight and obesity combined) were greatest in large coastal cities-32.6% and 19.1% among males and females, respectively. These rates has neared that of developed countries. Similar increases were found in all other regions, including the once poverty-stricken rural west. The epidemic in most of the rural areas began after 2000, but has spread swiftly over the last decade. In 2010, it was estimated that 9.9% of Chinese school-aged children and adolescents were overweight and that an additional 5.1% were obese, representing an estimated 30.43 million individuals.


The prognosis for China's childhood-obesity epidemic is dire. To prevent childhood obesity, we suggest several strategies, including reasonable dietary intake, increase physical activity, a change in sedentary lifestyles and corresponding behavioral modifications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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