Objective: To describe the prevalence of body overweight and obesity and its changes among Chinese people during 1992-2002, and to provide scientific basis for developing intervention strategies for obesity in China.
Methods: The data from "1992 China third National Nutrition Survey" (78,704 subjects, 38,323 male and 40,381 female) and from "2002 China National Nutrition and Health Survey" (209,849 subjects, 101,377 male and 108,472 female) were used in this study. The overweight and obesity were defined by using WHO Z-score criteria for children younger than 7 years old, Chinese age-, sex-specific BMI criteria for children aged 7-17 years, and Chinese BMI criteria for adults.
Results: The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity of Chinese people was increased by 38.6% and 80.6%, respectively during the period of 1992-2002. The prevalence of overweight and obesity of Chinese people aged 0-6 years, 7-17 years, 18-44 years, 45-59 years and above 60 years was increased 31.7%, 17.9%, 66.7%, 45.2% and 43.7%, respectively. The increase of the prevalence of overweight and obesity was higher in girls younger than 6 years than their male counterparts, while among other age groups, that were higher in boys than girls. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among people living in rural areas was lower than that of their urban counterparts, while the increment of overweight and obesity prevalence among rural people was greater than that of their urban counterparts. It was estimated that another 70 million overweight and 30 million obese Chinese people emerged in China from 1992 to 2002.
Conclusion: The prevalence of overweight and obesity of Chinese people was increased rapidly in the past decade, which had affected 260 million Chinese people. It would continue to increase in the near future if effective intervention measures have not been taken.