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Open Access Research article

Prevalence of overweight and obesity among Chinese Yi nationality: a cross-sectional study

Yun Gao1, Xing-Wu Ran1, Xiao-Hua Xie2, Hua-Lin Lu2, Tao Chen1, Yan Ren1, Yang Long3 and Hao-Ming Tian1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, 37 GuoXue lane, Chengdu 610041, People's Republic of China

2 Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, The First People's Hospital of Liangshan Yi Nationality Autonomy District, Xichang City 615000, People's Republic of China

3 Laboratory of Endocrinology and Metabolism, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, People's Republic of China

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:919  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-919

Published: 13 December 2011

Abstract

Background

Overweight and obesity are considered a serious health problem. There are little data on the prevalence of overweight and obesity among the Yi ethnic group in China. This study aimed to investigate the epidemiologic features of overweight/obesity among Chinese Yi nationality.

Methods

A cross-sectional study, including 1255 subjects aged 20-75 years, was carried out in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan province from 2007 to 2008. Overweight/overall obesity was defined by World Health Organization (WHO) or the Working Group on Obesity in China.

Results

Overall, the prevalence of overweight and obesity was 19.0% and 2.9%, respectively, based on the WHO definition, while it was 21.0% and 7.4%, respectively, according to the Working Group on Obesity in China, which is similar to data reported in the 2002 Chinese National Nutrition and Health Survey. Urban residents had a significantly higher prevalence of obesity (WHO criteria: 4.3% vs 1.7% p = 0.008; China criteria: 11.4% vs 3.7%, p < 0.001) and overweight (WHO criteria: 28.9% vs 8.9% p < 0.001; China criteria: 31.2% vs 10.4%, p < 0.001) than that in rural residents. Older age, a family history of obesity, higher income, drinking and urban residence were significantly associated with an increased risk of overweight/obesity.

Conclusions

The prevalence of overweight/obesity in the Yi nationality is similar to that in Chinese adults 5 years ago. However, urban residents have a much higher prevalence of overweight/obesity than their rural counterparts. Lifestyle and diet patterns associated with socioeconomic status may explain the difference between urban and rural residents. The prevention of overweight/obesity among urban inhabitants deserves more attention in national health education programs.