The study, published in the American Journal of Health Behavior, also found that -- as in the United States and Europe -- teens in China who slept fewer hours and participated in more sedentary activities such as watching television were more likely to be overweight, but the similarities end there.
First author Ya-Wen Janice Hsu of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California says the study's other disparities include:
-- In China, parents with more education and more money were more likely to have obese children, while the opposite occurs in Western countries.
-- Chinese boys were more likely to be overweight than Chinese girls, while U.S. boys are just as likely as girls to be overweight.
-- Younger children in China were more likely to be overweight than older children, while the opposite is true in Western societies.
-- Chinese adolescents who reported frequent consumption of vegetables and infrequent intake of sweets and fast food were more likely to be overweight.
-- Frequent participation in vigorous physical activity among Chinese youth was related with greater odds of being overweight.
"Findings from this large cohort of data on Chinese youth suggest that weight-related correlates might play different roles in Chinese culture than they do in Western cultures," the researchers say.