Obesity, coronary heart disease risk factors and diabetes in Chinese: an approach to the criteria of obesity in the Chinese population

Obes Rev. 2002 Aug;3(3):167-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1467-789x.2002.00067.x.


The aim of this work was to study the relationship between excess body weight and the risks of hypertension and diabetes in the population of northeastern China. Subsections of a cross-sectional survey in Da Qing City were used to assess the relationship of excess weight to risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD). A 6-year prospective study also assessed the probability of developing Type 2 diabetes. A total of 2856 adults (25-70 years of age) were assessed cross-sectionally and 629 non-diabetic subjects of similar age were followed-up for 6 years. Blood pressure, plasma fasting glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoporotein (HDL) cholesterol and fibrinogen levels were measured as well as weight, height and waist and hip circumferences. About 45% of adults had a body mass index (BMI) of > or =25.0. Risk factors increased with increasing BMI from a baseline value of 21.0: at a BMI of 23.0-24.9, the risk of hypertension and hypertriglyceridaemia doubled; the risk increased threefold at a BMI of 25.0-26.9. The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes increased progressively in women within the normal BMI range and in men from a BMI of 25.0. Type 2 diabetes was four times as common if the BMI was >27.0. Increasing waist measurements predicted 10-fold increases in hypertension and a three-to-five times increased risk of diabetes. Suitable waist cut-off points were 85cm for men and 80cm for women, with statistical analysis showing waist as the more dominant predictor of risk than age, waist-to-hip ratios or BMIs. Hence, small increases in BMI, and particularly in waist circumference, predict a substantial increase in the risk of diabetes and risk for CHD, especially hypertension, in Chinese adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / epidemiology
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Fibrinogen