Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Gender Differences in Home Environments Related to Childhood Obesity in Nanchang, China

Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Gender Differences in Home Environments Related to Childhood Obesity in Nanchang, China

Article excerpt

[Author Affiliation]

Xiaoxu Xie. 1 School of Public Health, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.

Hongjiao Wu. 1 School of Public Health, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.

Thomas Lee. 2 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI.

Christina M.B. Wang. 2 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI.

Xiaojun Zhou. 1 School of Public Health, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.

Yuanan Lu. 1 School of Public Health, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China. 2 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI.

Zhaokang Yuan. 1 School of Public Health, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.

Jay E. Maddock. 1 School of Public Health, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China. 2 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI.

Address correspondence to: Jay E. Maddock, PhD, Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1960 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, E-mail: jmaddock@hawaii.edu

Introduction

Globally, childhood obesity rates have been rising rapidly and have drawn widespread international concern.1,2 An estimated 43 million preschool children (under age 5 years) were overweight or obese in 2010, a 60% increase since 1990.3

In China, from 1993 to 2009, obesity increased from approximately 3-11% in men and from approximately 5-10% in women.4 A recent representative study of youth in China has shown a dramatic rise in obesity; in 1985, the prevalence of overweight or obesity in urban boys, urban girls, rural boys, and rural girls was 1.3%, 1.6%, 0.5%, and 1.6%, respectively. By 2010, the prevalence of overweight or obesity in urban boys, urban girls, rural boys, and rural girls rose to 23.2%, 12.7%, 13.8%, and 8.6%, respectively.5 The recent rapid development in China has been disparate, with urban areas seeing high levels of modernization, Westernization, and increases in wages, whereas rural areas have seen far fewer changes.6 This lack of progress in rural areas might be serving as a potential protective effect against childhood obesity. In China, overweight children were 2.8 times as likely as all other children to become overweight adolescents.7 Overweight adolescents are more likely to grow up to be overweight adults.8

Compared with developed countries, such as Australia and the United States, China still has a much lower prevalence of obesity, but the prevalence rates are on the rise.5,9,10 However, in Chinese as well as other Asian adults, health complications associated with overweight and obesity start at a lower BMI, as compared to the US and European BMIs.11 Whereas the World Health Organization recommends a lower cutpoint of 25 for obesity in Asian adults; the international standard for childhood obesity is BMI ≥95th percentile by age and sex.12 In China, it is likely that the true public health burden is underestimated in children.

A number of risk factors are known to contribute to obesity, including lack of physical activity (PA), unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and environmental factors.13 Parents and the home environment also play an important role in the development of obesity and other health risk factors in children. Food availability and media use are associated with energy balance.14 PA is inversely related to BMI in children.15 Gender differences in the home environment and obesity have been reported in Western countries, but have yet to be explored in Asian countries.16,17

This study was conducted in Nanchang, a city in the southeast of China. It is the largest city in the Jiangxi province, with a population of just over 5 million in 2010. …

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