Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Epidemiology of general obesity, abdominal obesity and related risk factors in urban adults from 33 communities of northeast china: the CHPSNE study

Hao Wang1*, Jing Wang2, Miao-Miao Liu3, Da Wang3, Yu-Qin Liu3, Yang Zhao3, Mei-Meng Huang3, Yang Liu3, Jing Sun3 and Guang-Hui Dong3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anesthesiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Liaoning Medical University, Jinzhou, 121001, P.R. China

2 Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO, 63104, USA

3 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, China Medical University, Shenyang, 110001, P.R. China

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:967  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-967

Published: 12 November 2012



Obesity increases the risk of many diseases. However, there has been little literature about the epidemiology of obesity classified by body mass index (BMI) or waist (abdominal obesity) among urban Chinese adults. This study is to fill the gap by assessing the prevalence of obesity and associated risk factors among urban Chinese adults.


A representative sample of 25,196 urban adults aged 18 to 74 years in Northeast China was selected and measurements of height, weight and waist circumference (WC) were taken from 2009–2010. Definitions of overweight and obesity by the World Health Organization (WHO) were used.


The overall prevalence rates of general obesity and overweight classified by BMI were 15.0% (15.7% for men and 14.3% for women, p<0.01) and 19.2% (20.8% for men and 17.7% for women, p<0.01), respectively, and the overall prevalence rate of abdominal obesity was 37.6% (31.1% for men and women 43.9% for women, p<0.01). Multivariable logistic regression showed that the elderly and those who had a history of parental obesity, alcohol drinking, or former cigarette smoking were at high risk of obesity classified by BMI or WC, whereas those with a higher level of education, higher family income, or a healthy and balanced diet were at low risk of obesity. Analysis stratified by gender showed that men with a higher level education level, a white-collar job, a cadre job, or higher family income were the high risk group, and women with a higher level of education or higher family income were the low risk group.


Obesity and overweight have become epidemic in urban populations in China; associations of risk factors with obesity differ between men and women.

General obesity; Abdominal obesity; Risk factors; Gender difference; Chinese urban adults