Smoking, air pollution major health threats in China

Updated: 2013-04-16 00:44


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BEIJING - Chinese and international medical experts have warned that second-hand smoke and air pollution are among the major health threats in China.

The scientists listed unhealthy diet, uncontrolled high blood pressure,environmental tobacco smoke and outdoor and indoor air pollution as the five leading health risks facing the Chinese population, according to a statement issued at the opening ceremony of the Evidence-Based Policy Dialogue: China and the Global Burden of Diseases symposium on Monday.

Their comments were based on the new findings of a collaborative study conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and Australia's Queensland University.

The study tracked disease-, disability- and demographic-related health trends in China over the two decades from 1990 and 2010.

Air pollution is dangerous, as it triggers infectious diseases, cardiovascular disorders and cancers, and the prevalence of these diseases in China is rising, the statement said.

Moreover, compared to most of the G20 countries, these threats are particularly serious in China, it said.

The experts also underlined efforts to cope with chronic diseases.

"Although final study results have yet to be confirmed, initial findings indicate that while China has achieved marked success in improving life expectancy and reducing death and illness caused by infectious disease, the challenge of non-communicable diseases has grown, as has the number of years Chinese people live affected by chronic disease and disability," read the statement.

"It should be noted that although the spread of infectious diseases such as SARS and the current H7N9 bird flu draws most of the public's attention, the biggest disease burden for Chinese people actually comes from non-communicable and chronic diseases, and the threat is mounting," said Yang Gonghuan, a professor with the China CDC and the PUMC.

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