Prevalence and associated socioeconomic factors of multimorbidity in 10 regions of China: An analysis of 0.5 million adults

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health


Background: The epidemiology of multiple chronic conditions in China is poorly understood. We investigated the prevalence of multimorbidity among the middle-aged and elderly population in China and analyzed its demographic and socioeconomic correlates.
Methods: Data were obtained from the baseline of the China Kadoorie Biobank Study, which recruited over 0.5 million participants between 2004 and 2008. We calculated the prevalence by the characteristics of multimorbidity. The demographic and socioeconomic correlates were analyzed using a multivariable logistic regression model.
Results: 15.9% of the participants were multimorbid. Although the prevalence of multimorbidity increased with age, the absolute number of people with multimorbidity was much higher among middle-aged adults (30-60 years, n = 42 041) than the elderly group (>60 years, n = 38 834). The odd of multimorbidity was higher in males (aOR =1.09, 95% CI: 1.07-1.11) and among those who were unemployed (aOR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.55-1.62). Those who received the highest level of education were most likely to be multimorbid compared with those with no education (aOR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.09-1.19). Such an association was similar when treating multimorbidity as multinomial variable.
Conclusions: Multimorbidity is a public health concern, with higher prevalence among the elderly, males and those who belong to a lower socioeconomic stratum. Actions are needed to curb multimorbidity epidemic in China.


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Journal of Public Health