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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.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/ije/dyw165

Type

Journal article

Journal

Int J Epidemiol

Publication Date

01/04/2017

Volume

46

Pages

502 - 512

Keywords

Chinese, adiposity, cross-sectional studies, reproductive factors, women