Content » Vol 49, Issue 6

Original report

Epidemiological study of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in Eastern China

Yu Zheng, Yini Dang, Xiaojun Wu, Yan Yang, Jan D. Reinhardt, Chengqi He , Mansang Wong
Interdisciplinary Division of Biomedical Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 999077 Hong Kong, China. E-mail:, Chengqi He, Center of Rehabilitation Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, No. 37, Guo Xue Xiang, Chengdu, 610041, China. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2240


Objective: Previous epidemiological studies of adole-scent idiopathic scoliosis in mainland China have had diverse results. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine the epidemiology of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis based on a representative sample
city, Wuxi, in eastern China.
Methods: Primary and secondary school students aged 10–16 years were enrolled in the study. Physical examination and Adam’s forward bending test, combined with scoliometer measurements were performed at school-based screening. Students with an angle of trunk inclination of 5° or more were referred for whole-spine X-ray. The threshold for confirmed diagnosis was a Cobb angle of 10° or more.
Results: A total of 79,122 students were screened. The overall prevalence of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in Wuxi City was estimated as 2. 4%. Girls had a higher prevalence in each age subgroup compared with boys. Higher prevalence was found in individuals with lower body mass index. Mild and moderate curves were the most common types in our study.
Conclusion: The prevalence of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in this region was slightly higher. Medical resources should be considered for children with lower body mass index and high risk of scoliotic progression. Measurement with a scoliometer would be suitable for mild-to-moderate scoliotic deformities, while alternative methods should be developed for those with severe deformities or higher body mass index.

Lay Abstract

Children with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) may result in physical and psychological issues. Severe curvatures may lead to disabilities in their adulthood. Therefore, early detection of AIS is essential for appropriate treatment. We studied the prevalence of AIS in Wuxi City, China to target the high-risk populations and then refer them to appropriate early intervention. We found that the prevalence of AIS (2.4%) in this region was slightly higher than that in the meta-analysis. It is also suggested to pay more attention to the children with lower BMI and high risk of scoliotic progression.

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