Disease Risks of Childhood Obesity in China

Biomed Environ Sci. 2005 Dec;18(6):401-10.


Objective: To estimate the relative risks of dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndromes among overweight and obese Chinese children compared with their normal weight counterparts.

Methods: Overweight and obesity were defined by age- and sex-specific BMI classification reference for Chinese children and adolescents. Pediatric metabolic syndrome (MetS) and each risk factor for MetS were defined using the criteria for US adolescents. Definition of hyper-TC, LDL, and dyslipidemia for adults was applied as well. General linear model factor analysis and chi-square test were used to compare the difference in metabolic indicators among normal weight, overweight, and obese groups. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate the odds ratio of metabolic abnormalities between obesity, overweight, and normal weight children, after adjustment for living area, family economic level, age, sex, and daily exercise time and TV watching time, as well as different dietary indices in the model.

Results: Significant increases in blood lipids, glucose, and blood pressure were found among overweight and obese children as compared with their counterparts with normal weight. By applying WGOC-recommended BMI classification, the risks for hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL and dyslipidemia among overweight children were 1.9, 1.4, and 1.5 times, and was 3.3, 1.5, and 1.8 times among obese groups compared to their counterparts with normal weight after adjustment for age, sex, region, socioeconomic status, physical activity, and dietary intakes. The overweight and obese children (15-17.9 years) had a high-risk of developing hypertension, which was 2.3 and 2.9 times higher than their counterparts with normal weight. Above 90% obese adolescents had abdominal obesity, while less than 1% normal weight ones had abdominal obesity. No obese adolescents were free from any risk factors for MetS, while 36.9% of normal weight adolescents were from the risk factors. 83.3% obese boys and all obese girls had metabolic syndrome, while only 15.5% normal weight boys and 18.8% normal weight girls had metabolic syndrome. Four risk factors for metabolic syndrome were found in 8.3% obese boys while none in normal weight boys and girls. The prevalence of MetS among normal weight, overweight, and obesity groups was 1.5%, 18.3%, and 38.1% respectively.

Conclusion: The cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are clustered in obese Chinese children. Our observations strongly suggest that efforts should be made to prevent the onset of overweight and its associated diseases during early childhood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • China / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology
  • Dyslipidemias / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors