Thanks to improved medicare, the number of disabled in every 1,000
Chinese children has decreased from 17 in 1987 to 13 in 2003.
The figures, released yesterday, are taken from a national survey
sponsored by the United Nations Children's Fund.
The first of its kind in China, the survey was jointly conducted by
the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Security, China Disabled
Persons' Federation and National Bureau of Statistics.
Deng Pufang, president of the federation, hailed the results.
"Although each year still sees an average addition of 199,000
disabled children in China, the right way for improvement has been
pointed out,'' he said.
The survey underlines the effective efforts of the Chinese
Government in reducing birth defects, but for many experts
nutrition deserves as much attention in ensuring more Chinese
children grow up "healthy and smart.''
"The many obese children of today reminds me of the many skinny
kids in 1940s; both extremes are worrisome,'' said Hu Yamei, a top
identify the seriousness of the problem, the China National
Children's Centre has embarked on the country's first special
investigation into the nutrition of Chinese children. The
investigation is expected to be completed in April.
"The investigation might give us more clear-cut guidance for
improvement, but many pediatricians and nutritionists have already
agreed upon the necessity of food structure readjustment for
kids,'' said Hu.
For example, children need to eat more coarse food grain, such as
oats and maize, instead of popped artificial foods with high sugar
and gourmet powder content.
Unfortunately for the parents of children between one and three
years of age, almost all the foods sold on the Chinese market for
their children is popped. The only none-popped coarse food
available is Heinz "Growing Up Oats.''
Meanwhile, a recent survey by the China Health Education
Association suggests many Chinese children under five years of age
suffer from a lack of zinc, iron, iodine and vitamins A and D, and
slow growth has reached the alarming rate of 35 per cent.
(China Daily December 23, 2003)