The 173rd RIHN seminar

Date: August 22nd, 2019 (Thursday) 13:30 - 14:30
Place: Seminar Room 3 & 4, RIHN ( → Access)
Organizer: Ecohealth
Lecturer: Lin Lin (RIHN Visiting Research Fellow / Senior Lecturer Department of Urban Planning and Design, Xi'an Jiaotong)
Title: What contributes to growing body size in rural China? -- A preliminary result


The prevalence of overweight and obesity has been increasing in China since the 1990s. Rural residents, with fewer health resources than their urban counterparts, have continuously grown heavier and resulted in higher rates of overweight and obesity. Many previous studies have investigated factors associated with overweight and obesity in urban China. Limited studies focused on Chinese rural residents. This study is to identify factors contributing to growing body size in rural China.


Adult residents were recruited in four rural regions in Hainan, China between 2017 and 2018 for this study. Simple physical checkups such as weight, height, and blood pressure were measured by trained health care professionals for all participants. In addition to socio-demographic information, food frequency, food motivation, travel behavior, physical activity behavior, and perceived neighborhood built environment were collected using standardized survey questionnaires. Ordinary least squares multivariate linear regression models were developed to identify factors associated with body mass index (BMI).


A total of 949 participants were recruited and collected survey questionnaires and physical checkup information. There are 49.5 % of males, with an average age of 46.5 years old. 26.2% of respondents were overweight, and 5.5% were obese using the Chinese overweight and obesity guidelines developed by Working Group on Obesity in China. Besides the age factor, respondents who are automobile dependent was found to be positively significantly associated with BMI. Unlike other studies, gender was not found to be associated with BMI.


With increasing income and access to automobiles, lifestyle has been changed for rural residents in China with increasing automobile dependency, which contributes to weight gain and results in growing body size.

Contact: Ecohealth, JIANG, Hong-wei E-mail