China / Society

Experts call for lifestyle changes

By Yang Wanli (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-07 07:39

Although the standards of care and treatment provided by China's health service are rising rapidly, experts say general fitness levels would really soar if people adjusted their lifestyles by cutting down on fats and salts and taking more exercise.

"Chinese people used to consume too much oil and salt. Unlike Western countries where baking and roasting are more prevalent, frying is the most common way of cooking in China," said Zhao Wenhua, deputy director of the Nutrition and Health Institute at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"People should be encouraged to eat more good, protein-rich foods, such as soybeans and dairy products, and they should cut down on cooking with oil and salt," she said.

Hu Dayi, from Peking University Hospital Heart Center, said greater control of cardiovascular disease would benefit the country as well as individual patients. "If China reduces its cardiovascular death rate by 1 percent in the next 30 years, it will save the country more than $10 trillion, or about 20 percent of national GDP in 2014," he said.

Smoking, an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise are the three main factors that undermine human health, and if China could reduce the smoking rate to about 5 percent by 2040, there would be an obvious decline in the incidence of cardiovascular diseases the following year, Hu said.

"A change of lifestyle is crucial in the fight against chronic diseases. Prevention costs less than treatment, and is more beneficial to both the country and individuals. Plans for the prevention and early detection of chronic diseases should be implemented straightaway," he said.

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