A new report shows that the rate of malnutrition among
Chinese children has dropped as family incomes have increased, but
the children haven't become healthier.
The report by the Chinese Center for Disease Control
and Prevention indicates that rising family income has had a big
impact on children's diet and lifestyle.
The report, based on a survey covering 57,437 students
aged between 6 and 17 in both urban and rural areas, shows that the
malnutrition rate for children of families with a monthly income of
less than 800 yuan (about US$104) is 70 percent higher that for
children from families with a monthly income of more than 10,000
yuan (nearly US$1,300).
In addition, children in high income families are more
likely to engage in regular physical exercise than those from
families with lower incomes.
Despite this, children from wealthy families are not
healthier than those from poorer families, according to the
The proportion of overweight children is 2.6 times
higher in families with a monthly income of over 10,000 yuan than
in families with a monthly income of less than 800 yuan.
The rate of obesity in the richest group is 3.6 times
higher than the poorest group. The higher overweight and obesity
rates increase the chances of chronic diseases.
It is also reported that children whose parents earn
comparatively high salaries spend more hours in the classroom,
watching TV and playing computer games, but do not get enough
More than 73 percent of children from the richest
families lack sleep. Urban children sleep less than rural children,
according to the report.
Ma Guansheng, a researcher with the Chinese Center for
Disease Control and Prevention, said that if no effective measures
are taken, the health picture for Chinese children will darken,
with problems of malnutrition among children in poor families
coexisting alongside a high incidence of chronic diseases among
children in rich families.
Hu Xiaoqi, another researcher, said a system to
monitor the nutrition and health condition of Chinese children
should be set up to conduct regular investigations.
(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2007)