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Am J Public Health. 2016 Dec;106(12):2103-2110.

Prevalence of Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity Among Reproductive-Age Women and Adolescent Girls in Rural China.

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Yuan He, Ying Yang, Yuanyuan Wang, Jihong Xu, Ya Zhang, Dujia Liu, Zuoqi Peng, and Xu Ma are with the National Research Institute for Family Planning, Beijing, People's Republic of China. An Pan is with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Ministry of Education and State Key Laboratory of Environmental Health (Incubating), School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, People's Republic of China. Qiaomei Wang, Haiping Shen, Yiping Zhang, and Donghai Yan are with the Department of Maternal and Child Health, National Health and Family Planning Commission, Beijing. Frank B. Hu is with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA.



To provide prevalence and trends of underweight, overweight, and obesity among reproductive-age women and adolescent girls in rural China.


We measured weight and height in 16 742 344 women aged 20 to 49 years and 178 556 girls aged 15 to 19 years from the National Free Preconception Health Examination Project between 2010 and 2014.


Among women, the prevalence of underweight was 7.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.7%, 7.9%), and overweight or obesity was 16.5% (95% CI = 16.4%, 16.6%; World Health Organization criteria). Among adolescents, prevalence of underweight was 6.0% (95% CI = 5.7%, 6.2%; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria) and overweight or obesity was 8.3% (95% CI = 7.9% to 8.8%; International Obesity Task Force criteria). According to Chinese criteria, overweight and obesity prevalence was 24.8% (95% CI = 24.7%, 24.9%) for women and 17.2% (95% CI = 16.6%, 17.8%) for adolescents, and underweight prevalence was 2.9% (95% CI = 2.8%, 3.1%) for adolescents. Considerable disparities existed in prevalence and trends within subpopulations (age groups, parity, region, education levels, and socioeconomic status).


Our results reveal coexisting underweight and overweight or obesity among rural women and adolescents of reproductive age, which requires public health attention.

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