How diet as a whole impacts the risk of general overweight and abdominal obesity among the Chinese elderly is unclear. The present study aimed to examine the association of overall diet quality with general overweight and abdominal obesity in the Chinese elderly. Using data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) from 1993 to 2015, an ongoing cohort study, we selected participants aged 60 and older who were not generally overweight, but who had abdominal obesity at baseline and who had participated in at least two waves of the survey as subjects. The China Elderly Dietary Guidelines Index (CDGI-E) was used, based on the critical diet-related recommendations of the 2016 Chinese Dietary Guideline (CDG-2016), to assess overall diet quality. Consecutive 3 d, 24 h recalls and household weighing for seasonings and edible oils were used to collect dietary data and calculate the CDGI-E scores. Three-level (community-individual-wave) random intercept logistic regression models were used to analyze the impact of diet quality on the risk of general overweight and abdominal obesity in the elderly. The results showed that the older women in the top sixtiles of the CDGI-E scores had a 38% reduction —0.62, 95% CI (0.41, 0.92)—in the risk of abdominal obesity, as compared to those in the bottom sixtiles after adjusting for all potential confounders, while the null association was observed in the older men. The relationship between CDGI-E score and the risk of overweight/general obesity in the Chinese elderly has not been found. It was concluded that a high diet quality was associated with a reduced risk of abdominal obesity among elderly women in China. Our findings will help to improve the understanding of the relationship between the overall effect of diet and health. It may provide a new avenue for obesity intervention policy formulation from the aspect of improving overall dietary quality.
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