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'Healthy' habits linked to childhood obesity in China
Date:7/11/2011

e likely to be overweight.
  • Frequent participation in vigorous physical activity among Chinese youth was related with greater odds of being overweight.

    The analysis was based on 9,023 questionnaires submitted by randomly selected middle school and high school students in seven of China's most populated urban areas: Harbin and Shenyang in the northeast, Wuhan in central China, Chengdu and Kunming in the southwest, and Hangzhou and Qingdao in the coastal regions. The sample included students from high-, middle- and low-income neighborhoods.

    Possible explanations for the East-West inconsistencies noted in the study include the fact that rice is a staple grain in the traditional Chinese diet and vegetables are often deep-fried and stir-fried (weight-related factors that were not measured by the study). Industrialization and rapid economic growth have also affected Chinese diets and physical activity levels. Food consumption has increased and junk food has become more readily available. On the other hand, physical activity has decreased as more people can afford cars, televisions and computers.

    "The most interesting finding is overweight Chinese youth have higher social economic status," Hsu said. "One potential explanation is that the unhealthy lifestyle changes, driven by the rapid shifts in Chinese economic climate, are choices available primarily to the wealthier population. As the Chinese economy continues to grow, it is crucial to track these paradoxical relationships, which may or may not 'flip' to match relationships we now see in Western countries."

    Because of the cross-sectional nature of the study, causality cannot be determined. And because the measures of physical activity and food consumption were self-reported, the data may be skewed (for example, overweight kids might have exaggerated their participation in vigorous activity and underreported their intake of sweets and fast food). To account for that, both subj
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  • Contact: Alison Trinidad
    alison.trinidad@usc.edu
    323-442-3941
    University of Southern California
    Source:Eurekalert

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