Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Risk factors for noncommunicable chronic diseases in women in China: surveillance efforts

Yichong Li, Limin Wang, Yong Jiang, Mei Zhang & Linhong Wang


To investigate risk factors for chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and their determinants in Chinese women.


Data from the 2010 China Chronic Disease and Risk Factor Surveillance survey, comprising a nationally representative sample of women, were obtained to determine the prevalence of eight risk factors for chronic NCDs: current smoking, harmful use of alcohol, insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables, physical inactivity, overweight and obesity, raised blood pressure, raised fasting blood glucose and raised total serum cholesterol. The mean number of risk factors per woman was estimated. Their independent demographic and socioeconomic covariates were also examined with ordinal logistic regression.


The following prevalences were found: insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables, 51.7%; overweight and obesity, 32.3%; raised blood pressure, 29.7%; physical inactivity, 18.3%; raised total serum cholesterol, 18.1%; raised blood glucose, 7.0%; current smoking, 2.4%; and harmful use of alcohol, 1.3%. The mean number of risk factors per woman was 1.61; 48.0% of the women had at least two risk factors. Women who were older, poorer, from rural areas or from eastern or central China had more risk factors, but only being more than 35 years old, poorly educated and a resident of eastern or central China independently increased the likelihood of having multiple risk factors.


Risk factors for chronic NCDs are common among Chinese women aged 18 or older. Interventions to reduce these factors are needed and should target women who are older, who live in eastern or central China or who are poorly educated.