About 30% of Chinese adults, roughly 320m people, are overweight and about 12% obese, China’s health watchdog said last week. As China escaped from decades of poverty, obesity was connected with higher incomes. But there is mounting evidence that, as has occurred in western countries, the link with affluence is breaking, with lower-income urban residents more prone to the problem. Using education levels as a proxy for socioeconomic status, Chinese and Australian researchers have found that while the better-educated in China’s less-educated areas are more likely to be overweight, the reverse relationship holds in areas with a better-educated population, which tend to be urban. Accord to the Financial Times, China’s growing weight problem has fueled an explosion in obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. In 2014 China overtook the US to boast the world’s largest obese population, while the average waistline expanded by 2.7cm among men and 2.1cm among women in the decade up to 2012.
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