BMI‐for‐age Z‐score distribution shifts among Chinese children: Gender disparity

Yi Song, Haijun Wang, Jun Ma, Patrick W.C. Lau, Peijin Hu, Bing hang, Zhiqiang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To identify gender differences among Chinese school‐aged children from 1995 to 2010, and to project the future BMI‐for‐age Z ‐score distribution and prevalence of obesity.

Methods: The data were from four cross‐sectional surveys (1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010) of Chinese National Surveys on Students Constitution and Health (CNSSCH) with a national representative sample of Chinese children, involving more than 200,000 participants at each survey. BMI‐for‐age Z ‐score distributional shifts overall and in percentiles were compared by gender. Average shift was calculated for four survey periods and used for projecting future distributions and obesity prevalence.

Results: BMI‐for‐age Z ‐score increased more in their upper percentile distribution, indicating that Chinese children have become heavier over the past 15 years. Gender disparity in BMI‐for‐age Z ‐score has become wider during the period. Over a 15‐year period, BMI‐for‐age Z ‐score shift among girls has been stable, while boy's BMI‐for‐age Z ‐score shifts has increased linearly. By 2020, the obesity prevalence is predicted to be 10.18% and 4.99% for boys and girls, respectively.

Conclusions: The wider gender disparity suggested a larger proportion of obesity in boys than in girls. Therefore, gender‐specific preventive guidelines and public health policies for childhood obesity and cardiovascular diseases are urgently needed in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1187-1193
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


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