Understanding the differences in obesity among working adults between Taiwan and China

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2009;18(1):88-95.


Objective: To investigate the difference in the prevalence of obesity and the associations between the risk of obesity and socioeconomic factors with regard to working adults in China and Taiwan.

Data: The 2000 China Health and Nutrition Survey and the 2001 National Health Interview Survey in Taiwan, which contains information from 20-60-year-old working adults in China (3,067 men and 2,998 women) and Taiwan (6,475 men and 6,341 women).

Method: Variables were converted to cross-economy comparable forms, and the estimated prevalence of obesity across socioeconomic groups was compared between China and Taiwan. Probit models were used to examine the associations between socioeconomic factors and the probability of being obese.

Results: In China, the prevalence of obesity was higher in the higher income, more educated, and more sedentary occupation groups, while it was higher in the lower income and less educated groups in Taiwan. Also, our results indicate that occupational types rather than income and education levels are more significantly associated with the probability of being obese in China, whereas income and education levels rather than occupational types are more significantly associated with the probability of being obese in Taiwan. These findings may indicate that, when an economy becomes more developed, the association between obesity risk and income and education levels becomes more significant and negative especially among women, while the association between obesity risk and occupational types decreases especially among men.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • China / epidemiology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Education*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Occupations*
  • Prevalence
  • Probability
  • Taiwan / epidemiology