Adiposity in relation to age at menarche and other reproductive factors among 300 000 Chinese women: findings from China Kadoorie Biobank study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Adiposity is increasing rapidly in China but little is known about the relevance to it of women's reproductive factors, which differ inter-generationally and from that in the West. We assess associations of adiposity with life-course reproductive factors in Chinese women. METHODS: In 2004-08, the nationwide China Kadoorie Biobank recruited 303 000 women aged 30-79 (mean 50) years from 10 diverse regions. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine associations of reproductive factors (e.g. age at menarche/first birth/menopause, parity, breastfeeding and reproductive years) with measures of general [e.g. body mass index (BMI)] and central [e.g. waist circumference (WC)] adiposity in adulthood. RESULTS: Overall, the mean BMI was 23.7 (standard deviation 3.3) kg/m 2 , mean age at menarche was 15 (2) years and nearly all had given birth (99%) and breastfed children (98%). Adiposity was associated inversely with age at menarche and at first birth, with 0.19 and 0.05 kg/m 2 lower BMI and 0.38 and 0.12 cm lower WC per 1-year delay respectively ( P  < 0.001). Among 128 259 post-menopausal women, adiposity was associated positively with age at menopause and reproductive years, with 0.05 and 0.07 kg/m 2 higher BMI and 0.12 and 0.17 cm higher WC per 1-year increase, respectively ( P  < 0.001). The proportion with overweight/obesity had similar associations with these reproductive factors. Adiposity had a non-linear positive association with parity, but no association with breastfeeding duration. CONCLUSION: Among Chinese women, earlier age at menarche and at first birth, later age at menopause and longer reproductive years were independently associated with increased adiposity late in life.


  • Kurmi, Om
  • Yang, Ling
  • Li, Liming
  • Millwood, Iona Y
  • Lewington, Sarah
  • Guo, Yu
  • Sherliker, Paul
  • Peters, Sanne AE
  • Bian, Zheng
  • Wu, Xianping
  • Yu, Min
  • Liu, Huilin
  • Wang, Hongmei
  • Mao, Enke
  • Chen, Junshi
  • Woodward, Mark
  • Peto, Richard
  • Chen, Zhengming

publication date

  • April 1, 2017