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Sub health problem poses threat to Chinese
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-07 23:01

A surprisingly high number of city dwellers in China suffer from poor health and many die prematurely.

Poor health with no diagnosis of any identified disease, a condition known in China as "sub health", is on the rise. Sub health is marked by general weakness, low energy levels and a poor immune system.

A survey held in 16 cities with over 1 million population showed high proportions of urban Chinese have been suffering sub health problems.

The numbers are particularly high in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, with 75.31, 73. 49, and 73.41 per cent of residents in poor health, the survey showed.

The problem is most prevalent among senior and middle-level managers, clerks and other white-collar workers with high education levels, said the website of the Red Cross Society of China.

"The sub health condition, found in most cases among groups of people with high educational level and spearheading the efforts for national rejuvenation, will exert direct negative effects on China's long-term development and sustained progress if not handled timely and properly," the website warned.

An authoritative survey by the Chinese Academy of Sciences indicates that the average life of Chinese intellectuals is 58 years, 10 years lower than the nation's average.

This early death phenomenon may be accelerating.

Among Chinese intellectuals in the 25-59 age group, the death rate for women is as high as 10.4 per cent. For men it is even higher: 16.5 per cent.

A report released after the China Sub Health Academic Seminar said the country's health is going through a transitional period and many chronic diseases have taken the place of infectious diseases as the main cause of death.

"Bad working habits, poor disease prevention knowledge, inadequate governmental investment and lack of health education are the main reasons," said Yang Xiaoduo, a health care expert with a local health association, who said China should race against time seeking measures to solve the sub health problem.

"If the sub health problem is not effectively controlled through improved health education, both the State and society are surely to suffer another heavy burden in the near future," Yang was quoted as saying by the China Economic Times.

But according to experts, Chinese medicine can play an active role in fighting sub health.

"Traditional Chinese medicine... can well surpass that of healthcare foods and will have no negative effect on the human body if it's carried out appropriately," said Huang Jianjun, a professor from the Beijing Chinese Medicine College.

"For example, foot massage is one of the best practices that could effectively improve blood circulation, ease tiredness and reduce the burden on the heart," he said.

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