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Healthy Weight Knowledge and Body Size Disparities in Chinese Adults

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Objectives: This study was an exploration of whether raising the level of knowledge regarding healthy eating and physical activity at all socioeconomic status (SES) levels is vital to reducing the SES gradient in body size disparities. Methods: This study uses longitudinal data with a total of 20,757 person-years drawn from 11,469 households of individuals aged 18-55 who participated in the 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2011 China Health and Nutrition Survey. Linear mixed-effects regression models capture the link among SES, knowledge of healthy eating and physical activity, and body mass index (BMI). All analyses are stratified by sex. Results: The results show there are knowledge gaps among SES groups from 2004-2011 for both men and women. In addition, there is a positive association between knowledge and BMI for men and no association for women. Conversely, the results suggest differentiated effects of knowledge on women's BMI by educational attainment. Conclusions: Current intervention programs that focus on raising knowledge regarding what contributes to a healthy weight are limited to reducing body size disparities; understanding social and gender meanings of ideal body size may be the key to curbing the trend toward obesity disparities in China.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Assistant Professor, Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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