Comparison of growth and nutritional status of Chinese and Japanese children and adolescents

Ann Hum Biol. 2020 Aug;47(5):425-433. doi: 10.1080/03014460.2020.1766564. Epub 2020 Sep 7.


Background: The difference in growth and nutritional status, both important indices of population quality, between Chinese and Japanese children and adolescents is unknown.

Aim: This study aimed to compare growth and nutritional status between Chinese and Japanese children and adolescents.

Subjects and methods: The height-for-age and BMI-for-age distribution of 9,226 children and adolescents aged 7-18 years from China and Japan were described with the Lambda Mu and Sigma method. Wasting, overweight and obesity were evaluated based on BMI-for-age cut-offs of the 2007 WHO Child Growth Reference.

Results: For boys, the overall average height, weight and BMI of Chinese participants were 3.0 cm, 4.8 kg and 1.2 kg/m2 greater compared with Japanese participants, respectively; for girls, these were 4.6 cm, 3.9 kg and 0.6 kg/m2, respectively. Compared with Japanese children, the 3rd, 50th and 97th percentiles of height-for-age, 1Z-score, and 2Z-score of BMI-for-age of Chinese children were greater, whereas the minus 2Z-scores of Chinese children were less. The prevalence of wasting, overweight and obesity among Chinese participants was greater.

Conclusions: Compared with Japanese children, Chinese children tended to be taller. The worrying burden of overweight, obesity and wasting was recognised among Chinese children.

Keywords: Children and adolescents; China and Japan; growth; nutritional status.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Height*
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • China
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*