China's obesity rate triples in 10 years


The prevalence of obesity has grown around the world, with the World Health Organization saying the worldwide percentage has tripled since 1975. In China, the world's most populous country, the rate of increase is even higher, new research shows.

The population of China is becoming increasingly overweight, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, an academic medical journal published by the American College of Physicians. During the past decade, the prevalence of obesity in the country has tripled and that of abdominal obesity has increased by more than 50%.

Researchers from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention used data from the China Chronic Disease and Risk Factor Surveillance survey to provide estimates for the national and provincial prevalence of general and abdominal obesity among Chinese adults, as well as by gender. They defined general obesity as a body mass index of 28 kg/m2 (kilograms per square meter) or higher, and abdominal obesity as a waist circumference of 90 centimeters (36 inches) or more for men and 85 centimeters (34 inches) or more for women.

"Based on these criteria, the overall prevalence of general obesity in Chinese adults was 14 percent in men and 14.1 percent in women," notes a press release on the report. "The prevalence of abdominal obesity was 31.5 percent in men and 32.4 percent in women."

The research studied data from 2004 to 2014.

Among some of the notable findings in the report:

1. The study also examined results at the provincial level in China. Here, rates were different across the 31 regions analyzed. High prevalence of general and abdominal obesity for both men and women was identified in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei.

2. According to the first China Chronic Disease and Risk Factor Surveillance in 2004, the prevalence rate for general obesity among adults was 3.3%. Around 25.9% of subjects in the study had abdominal obesity. A recent national estimate of adult obesity in China in 2007 and 2010, which doesn't include provincial prevalence estimates, showed that prevalence of general obesity was 3.1% and 5.2%, respectively. For abdominal obesity, reports showed a prevalence rate of 27.5% and 32.3%, respectively.

The researchers also framed their data in an international context, as obesity is increasing worldwide. In 2018, the World Health Organization reported that the number of people with obesity around the world has tripled since 1975. In that context, Chinas obesity rates are lower than in Western countries.

"When international obesity cutoffs are used for better cross-country comparison, the prevalence of general and abdominal obesity in China is much lower than that among U.S. adults 35.4% and 61.5%, respectively, in 2009 to 2010 although evidence suggests that adverse effects of obesity may manifest at lower thresholds in Asian populations," say the authors of the report.

The release of the obesity study comes at a time where China's leaders are increasingly focused on examining and improving health in the country. The government has shifted spending priorities, for example, to record success during the past decade in boosting rates of diagnoses and successful treatments for childhood cancer cases.

Source: https://www.usnews.com

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