Overweight and Obesity Difference of Chinese Population Between Different Urbanization Levels

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Purpose: To determine the difference of Body Mass Index (BMI), the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and their predictors among residents of different urbanization levels in China. Methods: A stratified, multistage, random cluster sampling method was used to select a representative sample aged 18-60 years in metropolitan, prefecture, and rural areas in 4 provinces and Beijing City in China. A total of 6,159 residents were interviewed. Multiple logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between urbanization levels and the prevalence of overweight/obesity adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and lifestyle factors. Findings: The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 21.0% and 2.5%, respectively. Compared to metropolitan residents (BMI = 22.76 ± 3.20 kg/m2), rural and prefecture residents had a higher BMI, 23.17 ± 3.49 kg/m2 (P <001) and 23.06 ± 3.31 kg/m2 (P =.004), respectively. Multiple logistic regression showed that, compared to the rural residents, those in prefecture and metropolitan areas were less likely to be overweight and obese (OR = 0.80 [95% CI: 0.68-0.94] and OR = 0.68 [95% CI: 0.57-0.80], respectively). The prevalence of overweight/obesity was higher in males (OR = 1.68 [95% CI: 1.43-1.97]) and patients with noncommunicable chronic diseases (NCD; OR = 2.50 [95% CI: 2.16-2.89]). Less frequency of physical activity was associated with a higher prevalence of overweight/obesity (OR: 0.85, [95% CI: 0.74, 0.97]). Conclusions: The rural population had an increased prevalence of overweight/obesity compared to both the prefecture and metropolitan populations. Male gender, older age, and NCD were positively associated with the prevalence of overweight/obesity. Policies are urgently needed to combat the overweight and obesity challenge in rural China.