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Improved awareness on health grows life expectancy

By WANG XIAOYU | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-07-06 09:01
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Two women have a chat while doing physical exercises at a senior care center in Xuhui district of Shanghai, East China, Oct 13, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Life expectancy in China has increased by over 0.6 of a year to 77.93 years as health awareness and access to fitness facilities have been greatly increased in recent years, authorities said on Tuesday.

Mao Qun'an, director of the National Health Commission's department of planning and information, said that China ranks high among upper-middle-income countries in terms of key health indicators.

"The health literacy rate has risen to 25.4 percent, and 37.2 percent of Chinese people regularly take part in physical exercise," he said during a news conference.

Gao Yuanyi, an official with the General Administration of Sport of China, said that by the end of last year, the average fitness area per capita had reached 2.4 square meters.

"More than 90 percent of people reached the average physical standard level of their age in 2020," he said.

Gao added that a lack of funds and public facilities dedicated to meeting the public's demand for exercise have been effectively addressed in recent years.

"Each year, the administration and the Ministry of Finance will invest nearly 1 billion yuan ($149 million) to subsidize fitness centers that are either free or charge very little," he said.

China has also strengthened its focus on the health of children and teenagers, especially when it comes to the issue of myopia and the prevalence of e-cigarettes.

Liu Peijun, an official with the Ministry of Education, said that the rate of myopia among children and teenagers dropped by 0.9 of a percentage point from 2018 to 52.7 percent in 2020, thanks to concerted efforts in reducing academic burden, increasing outdoor activities and improving indoor lighting.

The use of e-cigarettes has registered an upward trend among teenagers in recent years, according to Mao from the National Health Commission.

He said the commission has launched a campaign to crack down on illegal sales of e-cigarettes to teenagers and will publish prevalence rates of tobacco use among the young population regularly.

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