Few studies have examined nutrition transitions among the rural population of China, even though half of the Chinese population (about 700 million) is living in rural China. To fill this research gap, we examined temporal trends in dietary macronutrient intakes in members of the Chinese rural population aged 18–60 years. The analysis used data from consecutive three-day dietary recalls, collected from the China Health and Nutrition Surveys (CHNS). Mixed-effect models were constructed to obtain adjusted means and to examine temporal trends after adjusting for intra-class correlation within clusters and covariates, including age, sex, geographical region, urbanicity, and income. From 1991 to 2011, a downward trend in daily energy, protein, and carbohydrate intakes was seen in all categories, with a significant reduction among all rural people (p
< 0.0001). In contrast, a significant increment in daily fat intake, the proportion of energy from fat, and the proportion of rural people consuming a diet with more than 30% of energy from fat, were observed in the present study (p
< 0.0001). These results suggest that adults in rural China have been undergoing a rapid nutrition transition towards a high-fat diet. Therefore, more emphasis should be placed on the quality of fat and maintaining a balanced diet during the process of nutritional education.
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