Time trends in fast food consumption and its association with obesity among children in China

Hong Xue, Yang Wu, Xiaoyu Wang, Youfa Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Study the trends in Western fast food consumption (FFC) among Chinese school-age children and the association between FFC and obesity using nationwide survey data. Design: Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were conducted to study the trends in FFC and the associations between FFC and weight status (overweight, obesity and body mass index (BMI)z-score). Setting: Longitudinal data from families were collected in the 2004 and 2009 China Health and Nutrition Survey (covering nine provinces throughout China). Subjects: The analysis included 2656 Chinese children aged 6 to 18 years (1542 and 1114 children in the 2004 and 2009 survey, respectively). Results: FFC (reported having consumed Western fast food in the past three months) has increased between 2004 and 2009, from 18.5% to 23.9% in those aged 6-18, and increased more rapidly among those aged 13-17, from 17.9% to 26.3%. The increase was significant in almost all groups by age, sex, family income, and residence. Our cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses did not detect a significant association between FFC and obesity/overweight or BMI z-score (e.g., for BMI z-score, boys: β = 0.02, 95% CI: -0.71, 0.75; girls: β = -0.14, 95% CI: -1.03, 0.75). Conclusions: FFC has increased in Chinese school-age children, especially in older children, boys, and those from low- and medium-income families, rural areas, and East China, but decreased among those from high-income families during 2004-2009. The data did not show a significant association between FFC and obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0151141
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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