Background: No studies have been conducted to explore the associations between dietary patterns and obesity among older Chinese people, by considering gender and urbanization level differences. Methods: We analyzed data from the 2009 China Health and Nutrition Survey (2745 individuals, aged ≥ 60 years). Dietary data were obtained using 24 hour-recall over three consecutive days. Height, Body Weight, and Waist Circumference were measured. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify dietary patterns. Multinomial and Poisson regression models were used to examine the association between dietary patterns and Body Mass Index (BMI) status/central obesity. Results: The prevalence of general and central obesity was 9.5% and 53.4%. Traditional dietary pattern (high intake of rice, pork and vegetables) was inversely associated with general/central obesity; modern dietary pattern (high intake of fruit, fast food, and processed meat) was positively associated with general/central obesity. The highest quartile of traditional dietary pattern had a lower risk of general/central obesity compared with the lowest quartile, while an inverse picture was found for the modern dietary pattern. These associations were consistent by gender and urbanization levels. Conclusions: Dietary patterns are associated with general/central obesity in older Chinese. This study reinforces the importance of a healthy diet in promoting healthy ageing in China.
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