Lifestyle choices key to curbing China’s diabetes

By Liu Zhihua ( ) Updated: 2014-11-13 09:16:28

Lifestyle changes have led to rising rates of diabetes among Chinese in the past 30 years, especially Type-2 diabetes, and the Chinese Diabetes Society has been trying hard to reverse the trend, top health experts said recently in Guangzhou during the annual conference of the society, ahead of World Diabetes Day on Nov 14.

The society was established in 1981 under the Chinese Medical Association, setting a mission to prevent, care for and cure diabetes through education, research and good medical practice, said society president Weng Jianping, a top diabetes specialist who has presided over quite a few national research, prevention and treatment programs.

In the early 1980s, the prevalence of diabetes among adults in China was only 0.67 percent. In 2010, the prevalence hit 9.7 percent, the highest in the world. That translates to 92 million diabetics in China, the largest diabetic population in the world.

The majority of cases in China are Type-2 diabetes, which is preventable, and diabetes in China is closely linked with lifestyles, such as unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, according to Ji Linong, the retired president of the society, who heads the endocrinology department and diabetes center at the People’s Hospital of Peking University.

Smoking, obesity, family history and aging also are risk factors, Ji added.

Many pre-diabetics and diabetics pay little attention to disease prevention and control, and the health care system in China also makes it difficult for people in rural areas to get proper and timely diagnosis and treatment, said Xu Zhangrong, the director of the diabetes treatment center of the 306th Hospital of the People's Liberation Army.

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