Home>News Center>China

Food police to watch over dinner tables
By Zhang Feng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-03 01:37

A recruitment drive for nutritionists has been launched to persuade Chinese people to eat healthier food.

A national nutrition regulation to teach people how to eat better is being drafted as bad diets are blamed for the rise in chronic diseases including obesity and diabetes.

A customer picks up cooking oil in a supermarket in Suzhou, Anhui Province on January 18, 2005. [newsphoto]
"The country has a shortage of 4 million nutritionists. We need more to help educate people about the food they eat," said Zhai Fengying, secretary-in-general of China Nutrition Society.

The need for such regulation is also strengthened by an investigation carried out last year, said Kong Lingzhi, director of the Division of the Non-communicable Diseases Control and Management of the ministry.

China has more than 160 million people suffering from hypertension, and more than 20 million diabetic patients, the probe found.

"Too much sugar and fat intake and too little sport are the cause of such illnesses," said Kong.

Backed by the Ministry of Health, Zhai's society is organizing experts to discuss the drafting of the regulation. The draft is expected to be finished later this month and will be given to the ministry for further discussion in May, Zhai said.

"The regulation is very necessary for China," said Kong. Recruitment and training of nutritionists will spearhead the campaign.

There are currently only 2,000 in China. "For a country with 1.3 billion people, this is far from enough," said Zhai.

According to the standard in developed countries, where every 300 people are believed to be served by one nutritionist, China needs 4 million ones more.

"The regulation will require all kindergartens, schools and other public food sites to have their own nutritionists," Zhai revealed.

Residential communities will provide diet education.

Ma Fang is the director of the nutrition department at Peking Union Medical College Hospital. "For a big developing country like China, it will be hard to have a nutrition standard for our different groups," said Ma.

For example, people from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region eat a lot of mutton and it will not be easy to change their eating habits.

"And in many poverty-stricken areas, many are still suffering from starvation," Ma added.

"Nutritionists? We have none. Our health care doctor plays that role for our 300 children," said a teacher surnamed Guo, from Huixinli Kindergarten of Chaoyang District of Beijing.

At Ma's hospital, one of the best in China, there are only six professional nutritionists serving 1,800 patients.

"It is impossible for us to satisfy the nutrition demand of all the patients, and it will be a long time before China has 4 million nutritionists," Ma said.

(China Daily 03/03/2005 page1)

  Today's Top News     Top China News

More than half believe US containing China



Hu to address Beijing Fortune global forum



Judge in Saddam tribunal shot dead



Beijing seeks best of the best for Olympics



China lashes out at US human rights report



Foreign agencies to issue renminbi bonds


  Hu to address Beijing Fortune global forum
  Foreign agencies to issue renminbi bonds
  Small reforms could change whole society
  China sees progress in education
  Anti-terrorism teams to protect ports
  Boss who 'stole millions' goes on trial
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Experts stress importance of child nutrition
Wealthy kids have worse nutrition -report
Nutritional imbalance plagues people
Nutritional imbalance plagues people
Stone pays HK$1.17b to buy into nutrition business
Harvesting good nutrition
  News Talk  
  It is time to prepare for Beijing - 2008