Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 19
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Jung, Su-Jin Park, Soo-Hyun Choi, Eun-Kyung Cha, Youn-Soo Cho, Baik-Hwan Kim, Young-Gon Kim, Min-Gul Song, Won O Park, Tae-Sun Ko, Jae-Ki So, Byung-Ok and Chae, Soo-Wan 2014. Beneficial Effects of Korean Traditional Diets in Hypertensive and Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Journal of Medicinal Food, Vol. 17, Issue. 1, p. 161.

    Ko, Byung-Joon Park, Kyung Hee and Mantzoros, Christos S. 2014. Diet patterns, adipokines, and metabolism: Where are we and what is next?. Metabolism, Vol. 63, Issue. 2, p. 168.

    Lee, K. S. and Park, J. H. 2014. Burden of disease in Korea during 2000-10. Journal of Public Health, Vol. 36, Issue. 2, p. 225.

    Lee, Kwang-Sig Chang, Hoo-Sun Lee, Sun-Mi and Park, Eun-Cheol 2014. Economic Burden of Cancer in Korea during 2000-2010. Cancer Research and Treatment, Vol. 47, Issue. 3, p. 387.

    Lim, Hyunjung Kim, Sang Yeun Wang, Youfa Lee, Sun Ju Oh, Kyungwon Sohn, Chun Young Moon, Young Myoung and Jee, Sun Ha 2014. Preservation of a traditional Korean dietary pattern and emergence of a fruit and dairy dietary pattern among adults in South Korea: secular transitions in dietary patterns of a prospective study from 1998 to 2010. Nutrition Research, Vol. 34, Issue. 9, p. 760.

    Han, Euna Kim, Tae Hyun and Powell, Lisa M 2013. Beverage consumption and individual-level associations in South Korea. BMC Public Health, Vol. 13, Issue. 1,

    Kaya, Ozgur Florkowski, Wojciech J. Yen, Steven T. and Suh, Dong-Kyun 2013. Determinants of Decision to Pay a Price Premium for Modified Food in Korea. Agribusiness, Vol. 29, Issue. 2, p. 172.

    Park, Jae-Hyun Lee, Kwang-Sig and Choi, Kyu-Sik 2013. Burden of cancer in Korea during 2000–2020. Cancer Epidemiology, Vol. 37, Issue. 4, p. 353.

    Cui, Zhaohui and Dibley, Michael J. 2012. Trends in dietary energy, fat, carbohydrate and protein intake in Chinese children and adolescents from 1991 to 2009. British Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 108, Issue. 07, p. 1292.

    Lee, Yunhwan Back, Joung Hwan Kim, Jinhee Byeon, Haewon Kim, Seihee and Ryu, Mikyung 2012. Clustering of multiple healthy lifestyles among older Korean adults living in the community. Geriatrics & Gerontology International, Vol. 12, Issue. 3, p. 515.

    Ross, Stephanie Maxine 2012. Metabolic Syndrome. Holistic Nursing Practice, Vol. 26, Issue. 4, p. 228.

    Youn, Seiyoung Woo, Hae Dong Cho, Young Ae Shin, Aesun Chang, Namsoo and Kim, Jeongseon 2012. Association between dietary carbohydrate, glycemic index, glycemic load, and the prevalence of obesity in Korean men and women. Nutrition Research, Vol. 32, Issue. 3, p. 153.

    Cho, Young Ae Shin, Aesun and Kim, Jeongseon 2011. Dietary Patterns Are Associated with Body Mass Index in a Korean Population. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 111, Issue. 8, p. 1182.

    Monteiro, Carlos Augusto Levy, Renata Bertazzi Claro, Rafael Moreira de Castro, Inês Rugani Ribeiro and Cannon, Geoffrey 2011. Increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods and likely impact on human health: evidence from Brazil. Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 14, Issue. 01, p. 5.

    Ross, Stephanie Maxine 2011. African Mango (IGOB131). Holistic Nursing Practice, Vol. 25, Issue. 4, p. 215.

    Raj, Manu Sundaram, Karimassery R Paul, Mary Sudhakar, Abish and Kumar, Raman K 2009. Dynamics of growth and weight transitions in a pediatric cohort from India. Nutrition Journal, Vol. 8, Issue. 1,

    Kim, Eun-Kyu Kim, Ku Sang Park, Sue Kyung Ahn, Sei-Hyun Lee, Min Hyuk and Kim, Sung-Won 2007. The Korean Hereditary Breast Cancer (KOHBRA) Study: Protocol Review. Journal of Breast Cancer, Vol. 10, Issue. 4, p. 241.

    Park, Sue Kyung Sakoda, Lori C. Kang, Daehee Chokkalingam, Anand P. Lee, Eunsik Shin, Hai-Rim Ahn, Yoon-Ok Shin, Myung-Hee Lee, Choong-Won Lee, Duk-Hee Blair, Aaron Devesa, Susan S. and Hsing, Ann W. 2006. Rising prostate cancer rates in South Korea. The Prostate, Vol. 66, Issue. 12, p. 1285.

    Yin, Xiao Jian Huang, Chao Qun Chen, Hong Miao and Tanaka, Toyoho 2005. Associations of physique with the socioeconomic factors of family and regional origin in Chinese university students. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, Vol. 10, Issue. 4, p. 190.


Socio-economic, dietary, activity, nutrition and body weight transitions in South Korea

  • Soo-Kyung Lee (a1) and Jeffery Sobal (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 22 December 2006

Socio-economic development influences many factors that affect health, especially diet and nutrition. This investigation proposes that a system of transitions occur as societies develop, with socio-economic, physical activity, dietary, nutrition and body weight transitions operating in relationship with each other. This model of transitions was examined empirically using South Korea as an example of a nation that has undergone considerable changes.


Data were drawn from published government reports: the Korean National Nutrition Survey and annual reports at the national level for the years between 1969 and 1993. The socio-economic transition was assessed by gross national product. The physical activity transition was assessed using annual proportions of the population involved in primary, secondary and tertiary industries, as well as the number of cars and driver's licences. The dietary transition was measured by plant and animal food consumption. The nutrition transition was assessed by percentages of energy from carbohydrate, protein and fat. The body weight transition was measured by body mass index calculated from the average height and weight of adolescents.


Results revealed that the transitions were highly correlated as expected, with the socio-economic transition exhibiting major changes. South Koreans tended to decrease their physical activity and plant food consumption, and to increase animal food consumption, percentage of energy from dietary fat and body weight, in relationship to the socio-economic transition.


Examining a system of transitions on a national level in one country that has undergone rapid economic development may provide a strategy for examining how such transitions operate in other nations.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Socio-economic, dietary, activity, nutrition and body weight transitions in South Korea
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Socio-economic, dietary, activity, nutrition and body weight transitions in South Korea
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Socio-economic, dietary, activity, nutrition and body weight transitions in South Korea
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2W Zelensky . The hypothesis of the mobility transition. Geographical Review 1971; 61(1): 219–49.

3AR Omran . The epidemiologic transition: a theory of the epidemiology of population change. Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly 1971; 49: 509–38.

6D Harrison . The Sociology of Modernization and Development. Boston, MA: Unwin Hyman, 1988.

9BM Popkin . Urbanization, lifestyle changes and the nutrition transition. World Development 1999; 27: 1905–16.

11BM Popkin , S Paeratakul , F Zhai , K Ge . Dietary and environmental correlates of obesity in a population study in China. Obesity Research 1995; 3: 135S–43S.

12AM Prentice , SA Jebb . Obesity in Britain: gluttony or sloth?. British Medical Journal 1995; 311: 437–9.

13J Sobal . Social and cultural influences on obesity. In: P Bjorntorp , ed. International Textbook of Obesity. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 2001; 305–22.

14SA French , M Story , RW Jeffery . Environmental influences on eating and physical activity. Annual Review of Public Health 2001; 22: 309–35.

15JO Hill , JC Peters . Environmental contributions to the obesity epidemic. Science 1998; 280: 1371–4.

16D Grigg . The nutrition transition in Western Europe. Journal of Historical Geography 1995; 21(3): 247–61.

17MK Bennett . International contrasts in food consumption. Geographical Review 1941; 31: 365–76.

22A Warde , L Martens . Eating Out: Social Differentiation, Consumption, and Pleasure. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

25BM Popkin . Nutritional patterns and transitions. Population and Development Review 1993; 19: 138–57.

26BM Popkin . The nutrition transition in low income countries: an emerging crisis. Nutrition Reviews 1994; 52: 285–98.

30A Drewnowski , BM Popkin . The nutrition transition: new trends in the global diet. Nutrition Reviews 1997; 55: 3143.

35SK Lee , J Sobal , EA Frongillo . Acculturation and dietary practices among Korean Americans. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1999; 99: 1084–9.

40W Willett . Nutritional Epidemiology, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

41P Gordon-Larsen , LS Adair , BM Popkin . The relationship of ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, and overweight in US adolescents. Obesity Research 2003; 11: 121–9.

46CS Moon , ZW Zhang , Y Imai , S Shimbo , T Watanabe , DH Moon , Nutrition evaluation of women in urban and rural areas in Korea as studied by the total food duplicate method. Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine 1997; 181: 245–65 [in Japanese].

55N Yoshiike , F Seino , S Tajima , Y Arai , M Kawano , T Furuhata , Twenty-year changes in the prevalence of overweight in Japanese adults: the National Nutrition Survey 1976–1995. Obesity Reviews 2002; 3: 183–90.

56H Morgenstern . Ecologic studies in epidemiology: concepts, principles, and methods. Annual Review of Public Health 1995; 16: 6181.

58TC Campbell , J Chen , T Brun , B Parpira , Y QU , C Chen , China: from diseases of poverty to diseases of affluence. Policy implications of the epidemiological transition. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 1992; 27: 133–44.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *