Nation encourages healthier lifestyles

Updated: 2016-10-27 08:12

By Wang Xiaodong(China Daily)

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Chinese people's health will improve to the same level as people living in high-income countries by 2030, according to a plan released by China's central government.

The blueprint, released by the State Council on Tuesday, calls for building a "healthy China" and lists targets to be achieved before 2030, including longer life expectancy, lowered mortality rates and healthier lives.

All central government departments and local governments are required to implement the plan and will be responsible for meeting major targets in their jurisdictions, according to a statement released by the National Health and Family Planning Commission on Wednesday.

Average life expectancy for Chinese is expected to reach 79, more than two years longer than last year, the plan said.

The premature death rate for people with major diseases such as cancer will also be reduced, and they are expected to live longer, the plan added.

Individual expenditure on healthcare will be reduced to about 25 percent of China's total health expenditure, from the current 29 percent, the plan said.

The government will carry out national strategic programs on the prevention and control of chronic diseases such as cancer and stroke, a major threat to the health of Chinese, and improve services for key groups, such as pregnant women, the elderly and disabled, the plan said.

China will also continue promoting equal access to healthcare services and give more support to impoverished areas in the middle and western parts of the country to improve healthcare for poor people, it said.

Liu Yuanli, dean of the School of Public Health at Peking Union Medical College, said a major threat to Chinese people's health is chronic diseases.

"Incidences of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension are increasing rapidly," he said. "The key lies in prevention."

Although the government invests heavily in medical care, most of it is spent on disease treatment rather than prevention, and this does not address the rapid rise of chronic diseases, he said.

More than 260 million people in China suffer from chronic diseases, which cause 85 percent of all deaths in the country, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

(China Daily 10/27/2016 page5)