Original Article

International Journal of Obesity (2008) 32, 975–984; doi:10.1038/ijo.2008.21; published online 4 March 2008

Vegetable-rich food pattern is related to obesity in China

Z Shi1,2, X Hu1, B Yuan1, G Hu3,4, X Pan1, Y Dai1, J E Byles2 and G Holmboe-Ottesen5

  1. 1Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Nanjing, China
  2. 2Research Center for Gender, Health and Ageing, Hunter Medical Research Institute, The University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Department of Health Promotion and Chronic Diseases Prevention, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  4. 4Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  5. 5Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Correspondence: Dr Z Shi, Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 172 Jiangsu Road, Nanjing 210009, PR China. E-mail: zumins@vip.sina.com

Received 23 June 2007; Revised 13 January 2008; Accepted 29 January 2008; Published online 4 March 2008.





To investigate the association between a vegetable-rich food pattern and obesity among Chinese adults.



A food pattern rich in vegetables is associated with lower risk of obesity and non-communicable chronic disease in Western countries. A similar food pattern is found in the Chinese population but the cooking method is different. A cross-sectional household survey of 2849 men and women aged 20 years and over was undertaken in 2002 in Jiangsu Province (response rate, 89.0%). Food intake was assessed by food frequency questionnaire. Factor analysis was used to identify food patterns. Nutrient intake was measured by food weighing plus consecutive individual 3-day food records. Height, weight and waist circumference were measured.



The prevalence of general obesity (BMI greater than or equal to28kgm−2) was 8.0% in men and 12.7% in women, central obesity was 19.5% (greater than or equal to90cm) and 38.2% (greater than or equal to80cm), respectively. A four-factor solution explained 28.5% of the total variance in food frequency intake. The vegetable-rich food pattern (whole grains, fruits and vegetables) was positively associated with vegetable oil and energy intake. Prevalence of obesity/central obesity increased across the quartiles of vegetable-rich food pattern. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors and four distinct food patterns, the vegetable-rich pattern was independently associated with obesity. Compared with the lowest quartile of vegetable-rich pattern, the highest quartile had higher risk of general obesity (men, prevalence ratio (PR): 1.82, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.05–3.14; women, PR: 2.25, 95% CI: 1.45–3.49).



The vegetable-rich food pattern was associated with higher risk of obesity/central obesity in Chinese adults in both genders. This association can be linked to the high intake of energy due to generous use of oil for stir-frying the vegetables.


food pattern, factor analysis, Chinese

Extra navigation