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Rapid change in China brings significant improvements in health
Date:6/7/2013

SEATTLEChina made substantial gains in health over the past two decades, including increases in life expectancy, reductions in child mortality, and declines in infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and lower respiratory infections. But with that success accompanies the growth of non-communicable diseases and risk factors such as tobacco use and high blood pressure, which could overwhelm the health system.

These are some of the findings published June 8 in The Lancet in an analysis by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Peking Union Medical College and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

The data are drawn from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010), a collaborative project of researchers worldwide led by IHME at the University of Washington. The paper compares China to countries in the G20, underscoring the fast-moving pace of health change in China and how it now looks more like the US, UK, or Australia in some respects. China's rate of premature mortality in 2010, for example, was only slightly higher than in the US and lower than all emerging economies in the G20 when accounting for changes in population age.

Looking back to 1990, China had a health profile very similar to much of the developing world, including countries such as Vietnam or Iraq. The leading causes of health loss in China in 1990 were chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD), lower respiratory infections, stroke, congenital anomalies, and neonatal encephalopathy. By 2010, though, the picture had changed in important ways. The main causes of health loss were stroke, ischemic heart disease, COPD, low back pain, and road injury.

Although Chinese women have one of the lowest rates of smoking prevalence in the world, men in China have one of the highest at 52% and exposure to second-hand smoke is as high as 72%.

"Tobacco is one of the top three risk
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Contact: Rhonda Stewart
stewartr@uw.edu
206-897-2863
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
Source:Eurekalert

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