The nutritional status and dietary pattern of Chinese adolescents, 1991 and 1993

Y. Wang, B. Popkin, F. Zhai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Objective: To increase understanding about current dietary patterns and short-term relationships between economic change and adolescent nutrition in a lower-income country, using the 1991 and 1993 China Health and Nutrition Survey data. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Eight provinces in China that vary substantially in geography, economic development, public resources, and health indicators. Subjects: 2236 and 2018 adolescents aged 10-18 years who completed three 24-hour recalls in the 1991 and 1993 survey, respectively. Results: Chinese adolescents experienced an improvement of diet and nutritional status. The prevalence of stunting declined from 23% in 1991 to 19% in 1993. Under-nutrition was a problem of concern although the prevalence (12-13%) was relatively low. Over weight was emerging as a problem associated with young, high-income and urban adolescents, but the prevalence (4%) was quite low compared with developed countries. Chinese adolescents' energy and protein intakes were adequate compared with the American RDA. About 27% of the participants derived more than 30% of their dietary energy from fat and 16% of them derived over 10% of energy from saturated fat by 1993. Conclusion: Chinese adolescents have experienced an improvement in diet and nutritional status, but undernutrition is still an important nutrition problem, especially among young and poor groups. More attention should focus on the increase of dietary fat intake and obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)908-916
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent nutrition
  • BMI
  • China
  • Dietary intake
  • Overweight
  • Stunting
  • Under-nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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