Obesity needs to be addressed to tackle the increased prevalence of diabetes in China – Temporal changes from 2003 to 2009

Shahina Pardhan, Dingchang Zheng, Zhiqing Chen, Guillermo F. López Sánchez

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    This study aimed to analyse the temporal change of diabetes and any associated risk and protective factors for diabetes in Chinese adults between Wave 0 (2003) and Wave 1 (2009) of the World Health Organization (WHO) Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE). Data from China of the SAGE were analysed. Diabetes (outcome variable) was assessed by the yes/no question: “Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes (high blood sugar)?”. Exposure variables examined in bivariate and multivariate multiple regression included sex, age, marital status, education, smoking, alcohol, fruit and vegetables consumption, physical activity and body mass index (BMI). Significant exposure variables in bivariate analyses were included in multivariate analyses (2003: age and tobacco; 2009: age, BMI, education and alcohol). In Wave 0 (2003), there were 3993 Chinese adults, of which 67 (1.7%) self-reported to have diabetes. In Wave 1 (2009), there were a total of 9524 Chinese adults, of which 770 (8.1%) had diabetes. The overall prevalence of diabetes in Chinese adults increased by 4.76 times between the two timeframes (1.7%, age range 27–84 years, average age 58.51 ± 12.70 years, 59.70% females in 2003 to 8.1%, age range 20–95 years, average age 65.31 ± 10.19 years, 53.64% females in 2009). Multivariate regression retained older age ≥ 60 years (OR 4.34, 95% CI 2.67–7.07) as the main risk factor in 2003 data, while in 2009 the odds ratio for older age ≥ 60 years decreased (OR 2.45, 95% CI 2.06–2.92), but included a significant association of obesity (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.60–2.78) and excess weight (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.19–1.69). The significant association with excess weight and obesity associated with the increased prevalence of diabetes in 2009 is a cause of concern and should be addressed by public health strategies in China.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101625
    Pages (from-to)101625
    Number of pages6
    JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
    Early online date25 Oct 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


    Funding Information:
    This paper uses data from WHO’s Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE). SAGE is supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging through Interagency Agreements OGHA 04034785, YA1323–08-CN-0020, Y1-AG-1005–01 and through research grants R01-AG034479 and R21-AG034263.


    • China
    • Diabetes
    • Prevalence
    • Protective factors
    • Risk factors

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health Informatics
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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