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To study the dynamics of childhood overweight and the influence of dietary intake on tracking of overweight.
Design and setting:
A follow-up study conducted in China.
Ninety-five overweight children, 6–13 years old, identified from 1455 children at baseline, were followed over a 2-year period.
Data on anthropometry and 3-day dietary intake were collected at baseline and during follow-up. Overweight was defined using the International Obesity Task Force reference of body mass index (BMI)-for-age. Differences between groups were tested using analysis of variance and Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel tests.
Of the 95 overweight children, 36.8% remained overweight 2 years later (‘tracking group’). Urban boys were the three times more likely than rural boys to remain overweight (63.2% vs. 21.9%). At baseline, the tracking group had higher BMI, body weight and fat intake (% of energy), and lower carbohydrate intake (% of energy), than the non-tracking group (who shifted from overweight to not overweight); they were more likely to have a high-fat or high-meat diet, but less likely to have a diet high in carbohydrate or vegetables and fruit. During the follow-up, the tracking group increased fat intake and reduced carbohydrate intake while the non-tracking group did not; and they also grew slower in height but faster in weight. Tracking of overweight seemed to be related to tracking of high-meat (relative risk (RR) 2.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0–5.6, P < 0.05) and high-fat (RR 1.5, 95% CI 0.9–2.5, P < 0.1) diets.
Considerable changes in children's overweight status during childhood and adolescence were observed in China, a transitional society. Dietary patterns, particularly dietary composition, seemed to influence the tracking patterns of overweight.
To review the nutrition policies and efforts related to nutrition transition in China.
Design and setting: This paper reviews the nutrition policy and activities of China to prevent and control diet-related non-communicable diseases (DR-NCDs). Data came from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Council and some cross-sectional surveys.
China is undergoing a remarkable, but undesirable, rapid transition towards a stage of the nutrition transition characterised by high rates of DR-NCDs in a very short time. Some public sector Chinese organisations have combined their efforts to create the initial stages of systematic attempts to reduce these problems. These efforts, which focus on both under- and overnutrition, include the new Dietary Guidelines for Chinese Residents and the Chinese Pagoda and The National Plan of Action for Nutrition in China, issued by the highest body of the government, the State Council. There are selected agricultural sector activities that are laudable and few other systematic efforts that are impacting behaviour yet. In the health sector, efforts related to reducing hypertension and diabetes are becoming more widespread, but there is limited work in the nutrition sector. This paper points to some unique strengths from past Chinese efforts and to an agenda for the next several decades.
China is trying in its efforts to prevent and control the development of DR-NCDs but effects are limited. Systematic multi-sector co-operation is needed to effectively prevent and control DR-NCDs inside and outside the health sector.
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