Since the late 1970s, stratospheric economic expansion has brought both immense affluence and “western-style” health issues that are now having a disastrous effect.
Experts have warned that “hidden epidemics” of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are posing a serious health threat to China and might have far-reaching social, economic, and demographic repercussions for the most populous country on earth.
China implemented the strongest lockdowns in the world to protect its citizens from Covid-19, but the devastating impact of non-communicable illnesses is considerably less well understood and might kill tens of millions of Chinese in the future decades without stricter public health policies.
A recent economic miracle in China has revolutionized the country, causing a rapid industrialization process as well as the relocation of hundreds of millions of people from the rural to towns and cities.
Numerous people have been rescued from poverty by this great development, and they now enjoy a higher level of living than they did in rural areas. However, “western” ailments like cancer linked to very high rates of smoking, diabetes, and heart disease thanks to a richer diet, lack of exercise, and high blood pressure have also come along with greater wages and urban living.
According to the University of California, Irvine sociology professor Wang Feng, the pace of change in China during the 1980s and 1990s was unlike anything else in history.
He claims that they are enduring epidemics that are concealed. “In a short amount of time, there has been an explosion in novel dietary and nutrient intake. It will be one of the biggest issues China faces, not just for individual families but also for the political leadership, when combined with unanticipated, unprecedented aging.
He warns that “this situation might truly spiral out of control.” This is a problem that won’t go away.
Smoking ‘disaster aging
In China, where around half of the male population is dependent on tobacco, more than a third of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers reside. By 2050, one in three young Chinese males would have died from a smoking-related ailment, which includes heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory problems.
This is an area statistic in a nation that is already experiencing a demographic crisis as a result of a declining birthrate and some raging populace. By 2100, the population may decline from its present level of over 1.4 billion people to roughly 1 billion, according to the UN. According to statements made by Chinese officials in July, the population is already starting to decline as birthrates reach their lowest levels in decades. However, some scenarios are even direr, with different According to data from the US and China, there will only be roughly 730 million people on the planet by the turn of the century. In contrast, it is anticipated that the populations of the UK and the US would either stay the same or slightly increase during this time.
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