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As you read this paper, a Beijing citizen died
( 2004-01-19 11:22) (China Daily by Xiao Li)

About every 20 minutes last year in Beijing, one person died from vascular disease of the heart or brain, and the number keeps on growing.

That's the sad news according to a new government survey.

Vascular diseases have close ties to lifestyles, experts who conducted the survey said.

It indicates that one of every three Beijing residents suffers from various diseases related to their ways of life, a 4.5 percentage points rise from 2000.

The Beijing Health Bureau study, covering more than 20,000 Beijing residents over the age of six, shows eight diseases dominate, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, coronary disease, stroke, chronic lung disease and cancer.

Residents in urban areas are more likely to suffer from such chronic diseases than rural dwellers, the study shows.

And men are more prone to such diseases than women.

Liu Zejun, director of the Beijing Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, said several of the diseases relating to lifestyle are among the top 10 fatal maladies in Beijing last year, such as cardio-cerebral vessel diseases, diabetes and cancer.

He said the death rate from such diseases accounted for more than 70 per cent of all the top 10 killers last year.

Meanwhile, the age of patients who receive heart-bypass surgeries has gone down by five to 10 years, said Liu.

Health experts warned that unhealthy lifestyles are the main factor causing the increase of the disease.

Experts say physical exercise, reducing mental pressure, reducing the intake of salt and fats, stopping smoking and losing weight can reduce the risk of contracting such diseases.

More than half of the respondents of the survey said they rarely participated in any kind of exercise, and 43 per cent of the respondents admitted that they were under too much psychological pressure.

Experts said among all the elements leading to chronic disease, unhealthy lifestyles accounted for 60 per cent, while heredity accounted for 15 per cent. Climate was listed 7 per cent of the time.

Smoking is a culprit in various lung diseases and cardio-cerebral vessel diseases; eating too much salt may lead to high blood pressure; and being too fat may lead people to be prone to coronary heart disease, high cholesterol and vascular disease in one's brain, experts say.

The survey shows that people over 60 are predominantly suffer from such diseases.

However, the incidence of diseases among primary and middle school students is much higher than adults.

Health experts anslyze the phenomenon may be mainly caused by the increasing number of overweight primary and middle school students in recent years.

Statistics show that more than 18 per cent of primary and middle school students are too fat , compared with just 7 per cent in 1991.

Since more and more Chinese families have just one child, parents should manage balanced diets for their kids and encourage their children to take part in exercise.

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