The proportion of deaths caused by chronic diseases in China has gradually increased

With the accelerated development of the aging population and the rapid transformation of living behavior, the burden of chronic diseases in China and even the world has gradually increased. Wang Youfa, leading scholar of Xi’an Jiaotong University, deputy director of the Department of Medicine and dean of the Global Health Research Institute, together with experts from Qinghai University, the Institute of Nutrition and Health of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Tianjin Medical University, deeply analyzed the temporal trends of chronic disease prevalence and management in China in the past 20 years and related behavioral risk factors, and discussed coping strategies, so as to provide scientific basis for the prevention and control of chronic diseases in China, policy formulation and promotion of healthy China.

The findings were published June 20 online in The Lancet Regional Health – Western Pacific.

The results show that the proportion of deaths caused by chronic diseases in China increased from 80.0% in 2002 to 86.6% in 2012 and 88.5% in 2018, of which cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes accounted for 47.1%, 24.1%, 8.8% and 2.5% of deaths in 2018, respectively. From 2002 to 2018, the prevalence of obesity (7.1%-16.4%), overweight/obesity (29.9%-50.7%), hypertension (18.8%-27.5%), diabetes (2.6%-11.9%) and dyslipidemia (18.6%-35.6%) increased.

Comparison of the prevalence of chronic diseases in urban and rural areas in China. Photo courtesy of the author of the paper

“The study also shows that the prevalence of chronic diseases in rural areas is increasing faster than in urban areas.” Wang Youfa introduced that from 2012 to 2018, the awareness rate, treatment rate and control rate of hypertension and diabetes in China increased very slowly, mostly between 30% and 40%, of which the hypertension control rate in 2018 was only 11%. Compared with urban residents, rural residents have lower treatment and control rates. In addition, many modifiable behavioural risk factors barely improved and some became more severe over time, including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, inadequate intake of vegetables and fruits, excessive red meat intake, and insufficient physical activity.

Peng Wen, Director of the Center for Nutrition and Health Promotion of Qinghai University Health Center, is the first author of the paper, Chen Shiqi, a master’s student at the Institute of Global Health and School of Public Health of Xi’an Jiaotong University, is the co-first author, and Wang Youfa is the corresponding author. (Source: China Science News, Zhang Xingyong, Yan Tao)

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