Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (3): 487-497.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003222

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The Residential Differentiation of Residents’ Overweight: A Case Study of Guangzhou

Zhu Zhanqiang1,2(), Tao Xiaofang1,2, Zhou Suhong1,2()   

  1. 1.School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University//Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2.Guangdong Provincial Engineering Research Center for Pulic Security and Disaster, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2019-07-01 Revised:2020-01-16 Online:2020-05-31 Published:2020-06-30
  • Contact: Zhou Suhong;


The rapid increase in the overweight rate among Chinese residents is accompanied by a complex overweight differentiation characteristic. However, little is known about the causes of the differentiation at a community level. Thirty years of housing system reform has led to China's housing pattern evolving into a variety of types. It will be of theoretical and practical value to study the mechanism of the influence of residential type on the rate of residents’ overweight under the specific policy and social background of China. Based on 962 questionnaires from 25 typical communities in Guangzhou (categorized into four residential types), we used chi-square analysis and a binary logistic regression model to analyze the residents’ overweight differentiation characteristic and its mechanism on a community level. The results showed that the overweight rate of residents and its differentiation characteristic varied between residential types. Demographic features and community environment were the core variables that explain the above-mentioned differentiation by residential type. 1) The incidence of overweight in the order of highest to lowest was as follows: historical district, indemnificatory housing, unit community, and commercial housing community. Commercial housing communities attract young people with high education, high income, a generally better health awareness and community resources availability leading to the lowest overweight rate. Due to long-term housing isolation, poor marketability and earlier construction, unit communities and historical districts drew residents with low education and income, in addition to which historical districts had a large proportion of the elderly. Consequently, both residential types had a higher overweight rate. Indemnificatory housing tended to support low-income groups, and usually had a poor community environment so although residents had a higher education level, there was less opportunity to use physical activity resources, therefore this residential type had a higher overweight rate. 2) Age and marital status were important influencing factors of overweight for all residential types which indicates that this is of concern for both the elderly and married population. With regard to other aspects of demographic and socioeconomic attributes, as well as leisure-time physical activity levels, overweight differentiation among the residential types had varied characteristics and mechanisms. An increase in income provided individuals with more access to social resources including physical activity facilities and food facilities, resulting in an overweight differentiation for both indemnificatory housing and unit communities. Moreover, in respect of indemnificatory housing, non-agricultural residents from other cities had higher income levels than other hukou types, so they tended toward higher physical activity and diet resource acquisition ability or a higher intensity physical activity (physical work) which reduced the overweight level. Education levels affected the leisure-time physical activities and other health behaviors of people in historical districts, leading to an overweight differentiation. Commercial housing communities consisted of higher income residents whose unhealthy work practices contributed to an overweight differentiation at the community level. This study revealed the characteristics and mechanism of overweight differentiation in Chinese residential patterns and proposes a number of community optimization measures to alleviate overweight, which may help improve the health of residents living in these communities and promote the implementation of the “healthy China” strategy. Further research might be needed to establish the mechanism of overweight differentiation in terms of gender and leisure-time physical activity.

Key words: overweight, residential differentiation, community, health geography, Guangzhou

CLC Number: 

  • C922