PURPOSE: To evaluate patterns of lung function in healthy, working Chinese men and women in different geographic areas of the People's Republic of China (PRC). METHODS: We conducted lung function tests on 2926 asymptomatic, never smoking Chinese men and women aged 35-56 years residing in or around Beijing and Guangzhou. Within each of these locations, separate urban and rural samples were recruited. RESULTS: Age and height adjusted lung function was greater in Beijing than in Guangzhou, and within each city for residents of rural vs. urban areas. Among women, estimated rates of lung aging were greater in Beijing than in Guangzhou, and in urban vs. rural areas. Both FEV1 and FVC exhibited a curvilinear association with body mass index. CONCLUSIONS: Lung function data from this largely working cohort exhibited marked geographic and urban-rural differences in this never smoking, adult Chinese cohort. Such variation is not uncommon and may reflect differences in body size, diet, and environmental and occupational exposures across these different settings. Caution should be used in applying published reference equations to populations from different parts of the PRC.
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