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Growing Fat on Reform: Obesity and Nutritional Disparities among China's Children, 1979–2005*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2014

Stephen L. Morgan*
University of Nottingham. Email:


Economic growth over the past three decades has greatly improved the nutrition and living standards of people in China. However, increasingly, the Chinese are becoming heavier. As many as a quarter of Chinese school-age urban boys are overweight or obese, yet a third of Chinese children remain underweight. Drawing on six national surveys of children's health conducted since 1979, the article reports on trends in nutritional status and regional disparities. It shows that the drivers behind the increase in mean body mass and in nutritional inequality are associated with rising household incomes and associated inequalities between provinces.


在过去的三十多年里中国的经济增长显著提高了人民的生活水平, 改善了营养摄入。但是, 中国人的肥胖问题更加突出。多达四分之一的城市学龄儿童男生超重或肥胖, 与此同时全国却有三分之一的儿童体重不足。本文根据 1979 年以来的六项全国学生体质健康调查, 研究报道了中国学龄儿童营养状况和地区差异的趋势, 并表明日益增加的家庭收入和各省份之间的发展不平衡是造成平均体重增加和地区间营养差异的因素。

Copyright © The China Quarterly 2014 

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Comments and suggestions are gratefully acknowledged from two anonymous referees and participants at seminars or conferences at the Australian National University, University of Nottingham, Oxford University, University of South Australia, and others via email.


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