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The expanding burden of cardiometabolic risk in China: the China Health and Nutrition Survey


BM Popkin, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, 123 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516, USA. E-mail:


China faces a major increase in cardiovascular disease, yet there is limited population-based data on risk factors, particularly in children. Fasting blood samples, anthropometry and blood pressure were collected on 9,244 children and adults aged ≥7 years in late 2009 as part of the national China Health and Nutrition Survey. Prevalent overweight, elevated blood pressure, and cardiometabolic risk factors: glucose, HbA1c, triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C and LDL-C), and C-reactive protein (CRP) are presented. We found that 11% of Chinese children and 30% of Chinese adults are overweight. Rates of diabetes, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and inflammation are high and increased with age and were associated with urbanization. Approximately 42% of children have at least one of the following: pre-diabetes or diabetes, hypertension, high TC, LDL-C, TG, and CRP and low HDL-C, as do 70% men and 60% women aged 18–40 years and >90% of men and women ≥60 years. In sum, the HbA1c findings suggest that as many as 27.7 million Chinese children and 334 million Chinese adults may be pre-diabetic or diabetic. The high prevalence in less urban areas and across all income levels suggests that cardiometabolic risk is pervasive across rural and urban China.