Study finds 75 percent of Chinese adults at risk for diabetes or heart disease

July 23, 2012, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

(Medical Xpress) -- More than three-quarters of Chinese adults have at least one risk factor for type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease, reveals new data in a long-term study done by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and published this week in Obesity. Rates of hypertension, diabetes and triglycerides are particularly high, even in the young and trim.

While the risks are highest among , 33 percent of those who aren’t overweight also have at least one cardiometabolic risk factor. Cardiometabolic risk is a cluster of factors that are good indicators of a patient’s overall likelihood of developing and . Adults at a healthy weight are less likely to be screened for these factors.

“The fact that high levels of risk were present even in non-overweight adults is highly concerning, given the societal and economic costs of these diseases,” said Penny Gordon-Larsen, Ph.D., associate professor of at Gillings School of Global Public Health and the study’s principal investigator. “Rates of risk increase dramatically with age, even in the non-overweight adults. Of even greater concern is the fact that we see these high levels of risk in individuals living across the entire country – in rural and urban areas.”

The new data come from the longest ongoing study in China, the China Health and Nutrition Survey, a joint project of UNC and the Chinese Center for Disease Control National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety. This longitudinal study has followed more than 29,000 people in 300 communities throughout China from 1989 to 2011. Surveys were conducted in 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2011. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health with additional funding from the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

China, home to more than 1.3 billion people, has seen unprecedented economic growth in the past two decades, accompanied by equally dramatic changes in diet, activity, inactivity and obesity. The 2009 study, which followed a randomly selected sample representing 56 percent of the Chinese population, found large increases in overweight and cardiometabolic , even in young adults.

“China has had a history of undernutrition followed by the most rapid increase in obesity and related diseases worldwide,” said Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition and a co-author of the study. “Given the current picture, we can expect tremendous health burden in China in the coming years.”

Given the speed of modernization in China, these findings shed light on patterns of risk in the United States, where change has been more gradual. These findings also call attention to the cardiovascular risk in thin individuals.

Other UNC study co-authors include Shufa Du, Ph.D., research assistant professor of nutrition; Linda Adair, Ph.D., and Beth Mayer-Davis, professors of nutrition; and Amy Herring, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics.

Another study co-author is James M. Meigs, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. The Chinese co-authors, both of Beijing, are Sheng-kai Yan, Beijing Homa Biological Engineering Co. Ltd. and department of laboratory medicine, China-Japan Friendship Hospital; and Bing Zhang, department of public health nutrition, National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety.

Explore further: Child diabetes levels higher in China than in US, study finds

More information: www.nature.com/oby/journal/vao … ull/oby2012152a.html

Related Stories

Child diabetes levels higher in China than in US, study finds

July 5, 2012
A study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found Chinese teenagers have a rate of diabetes nearly four times greater than their counterparts in the United States. The rise in the incidence ...

Junk-food diets spur inflammation more than saturated fats alone

June 28, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A diet based on American junk food could lead to more obesity-induced inflammation than a diet high in animal fat, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel ...

Study shows exercise and diet improve cholesterol in overweight and obese adults

March 19, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- According to a recent report, more than 68 percent of American adults are either overweight or obese. A study by researchers in the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Tufts University and Stanford ...

Obesity plus low vitamin D may add up to a greater risk of diabetes

July 17, 2012
The combination of obesity and vitamin D deficiency may put people at even greater risk of insulin resistance than either factor alone, according to new research from the Drexel University School of Public Health recently ...

Recommended for you

Evening hours may pose higher risk for overeating, especially when under stress, study finds

January 16, 2018
Experiments with a small group of overweight men and women have added to evidence that "hunger hormone" levels rise and "satiety (or fullness) hormone" levels decrease in the evening. The findings also suggest that stress ...

Bariatric surgery prolongs lifespan in obese

January 16, 2018
Obese, middle-age men and women who had bariatric surgery have half the death rate of those who had traditional medical treatment over a 10-year period, reports a study that answers questions about the long-term risk of the ...

Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to overweight and obesity in children, adults: Analysis of new studies

December 23, 2017
A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)- which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored) - concludes that SSB consumption is associated with ...

As income rises, women get slimmer—but not men

December 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—A comprehensive survey on the widening American waistline finds that as paychecks get bigger, women's average weight tends to drop.

Policy and early intervention can curb obesity rates

December 18, 2017
More information and emphasis on dietary lifestyle changes that prevent obesity, and its comorbidities, have not reduced the rise in obesity in U.S. adults and adolescents, according to a recent study in the New England Journal ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.