Health & Lifesciences Talking Points | 16-08-2016


In today’s talking points, a series of articles about modern China’s problems with obesity and diabetes; also, a survey demonstrates wealthy Chinese citizens concern about end-of-life care.

Diabetes China’s next big public health issue

Chinese diabetes rates are climbing in what some medical experts are calling a ticking time-bomb for the country’s healthcare system. Diabetes, virtually non-existent in China before the 1980s, has exploded during China’s three decades of break-neck growth. Today almost 11 percent of the population – over 109 million people – are diabetic, making China home to a third of the world’s diabetics. The scale of the public health crisis is huge, placing pressure on China’s healthcare system just as attempts are made to reform it. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 13 percent of medical expenditure in China is directly caused by diabetes, with yearly costs estimated to reach $47 billion by 2030.

Source: Quartz


Study finds China is facing an epidemic of cardiovascular disease

A study by Harvard researchers has found that increasing levels of high blood pressure and obesity are leading to an epidemic of cardiovasular disease which they predict will continue to worsen over the next two decades.  Between 1979 and 2010 the rate of Chinese adults with high blood pressure has increased from 8 percent to 34 percent. Rising consumption of fast food, decreased levels of physical activity and smoking were all cited as significant exacerbating factors.

Source: NYT

Pollution exposure increases risk of obesity

A study by the Chinese government agencies the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Open Fund of the State key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and pollution Control, and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation has found that pollution increased the risk of obesity, cardiorespiratory and metabolic dysfunctions in laboratory rats after only 19 days of exposure.  After eight weeks, female and male rats exposed to the pollution were 10 per cent and 18 per cent heavier respectively.  The study supports earlier results which have found air pollution induces oxidative stress and inflammation in the organs and circulatory system which can lead to weight gain.

Source: SCMP

High-net worth Chinese shifting focus from investments to end-of-life care

A new survey into the purchasing habits of China’s wealthiest people has found health care to be the number on concern, displacing last year’s top issue – investments. The survey, by Taikang Insurance and Hurun Report, found China’s richest people were increasingly anxious about social security and end-of-life care as they aged. China has 13 million people with a net worth of at least 10 million yuan, many of whom are entering the latter stages of life.  Financial investment fell as a core interest, from 53 per cent of respondents last year to 39 per cent this year, as the stock market stalled and regulators tightened their grip. Most respondents said they were highly likely to buy life insurance in the next three years, and while 65 percent said they planned to live out their days at home, that figure is down from 85 percent last year – with interest in high-end retirement homes doubling.

Source: SCMP