Geographic Variations in Dietary Patterns and Their Associations with Overweight/Obesity and Hypertension in China: Findings from China Nutrition and Health Surveillance (2015–2017)

Rongping Zhao, Liyun Zhao, Xiang Gao, Fan Yang, Yuxiang Yang, Hongyun Fang, Lahong Ju, Xiaoli Xu, Qiya Guo, Shujuan Li, Xue Cheng, Shuya Cai, Dongmei Yu, Gangqiang Ding

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13 Scopus citations


Regional dietetic cultures were indicated in China, but how dietary patterns geographically varied across China is unknown. Few studies systematically investigated the association of dietary patterns with overweight/obesity and hypertension and the potential mechanism with a national sample. This study included 34,040 adults aged 45 years and older from China Nutrition and Health Surveillance (2015–2017), who had complete outcome data, reliable intakes of calorie and cooking oils, unchanged diet habits, and without diagnosed cancer or cardiovascular disease. Outcomes were overweight/obesity and hypertension. By using the Gaussian finite mixture models, four dietary patterns were identified—common rice-based dietary pattern (CRB), prudent diversified dietary pattern (PD), northern wheat-based dietary pattern (NWB), and southern rice-based dietary pattern (SRB). Geographic variations in dietary patterns were depicted by age–sex standardized proportions of each pattern across 31 provinces in China. We assessed the association of these dietary patterns with outcomes and calculated the proportion mediated (PM) by overweight/obesity in the association of the dietary patterns with hypertension. Evident geographic disparities in dietary patterns across 31 provinces were observed. With CRB as reference group and covariates adjusted, the NWB had higher odds of being overweight/obese (odds ratio (OR) = 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.36–1.52, p < 0.001) and hypertension (OR = 1.07, 95%CI: 1.01–1.14, p < 0.001, PM = 43.2%), while the SRB and the PD had lower odds of being overweight/obese (ORs = 0.84 and 0.92, 95%CIs: 0.79–0.89 and 0.85–0.99, p < 0.001 for both) and hypertension (ORs = 0.93 and 0.87, 95%CIs: 0.87–0.98 and 0.80–0.94, p = 0.038 for SRB and p < 0.001 for PD, PMs = 27.8% and 9.9%). The highest risk of overweight/obesity in the NWB presented in relatively higher carbohydrate intake (about 60% of energy) and relatively low fat intake (about 20% of energy). The different trends in the association of protein intake with overweight/obesity among dietary patterns were related to differences in animal food sources. In conclusion, the geographic distribution disparities of dietary patterns illustrate the existence of external environment factors and underscore the need for geographic-targeted dietary actions. Optimization of the overall dietary pattern is the key to the management of overweight/obesity and hypertension in China, with the emphasis on reducing low-quality carbohydrate intake, particularly for people with the typical northern diet, and selection of animal foods, particularly for people with the typical southern diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3949
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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