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China gears up to help its residents live longer

People are living longer than ever in China, but the government wants you to have even more birthdays!

China has made it part of its health development plan to increase people’s life expectancy to 79 years within 15 years, according to the newly released “Healthy China 2030” blueprint.

The document, released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC) and the State Council on Tuesday, lays out China’s health targets by 2030, covering areas from public health services, environment management to food and drug safety.

Longevity matters

According to the document, China aims to extend the overall population’s average life span to 77.3 years by 2020 and 79 by 2030, up from last year’s 76.34.

Infant mortality rate—defined as deaths within the first year of life— is expected to decrease from the currently 8.1 per 1,000 live births to five out of every 1,000 in the next 15 years. Mortality rates for children under 5 and pregnant women should also be lowered greatly, respectively from the currently 10.7 per 1000 lives and 0.02 per 1000 lives to 6 and 0.012.

Lifestyle change you need

To ensure that people would live longer and better, China will also invest more efforts in promoting a healthier lifestyle among the public.

Health education will be incorporated into the education system. The number of people who “frequently participate in physical exercise” should increase dramatically to 530 million by 2030 from 360 million in 2014. The smoking rate of those aged 15 or above should be lowered to 20 percent. And a national nutrition plan should be implemented, with efforts to research food nutrition and monitor residents’ nutrition status.

Seeing a doctor no longer a headache

The blueprint also reveals the government’s ambitious plan to establish a quality, efficient and affordable health care system for all.

China has made remarkable progress in a relatively short period in its healthcare sector, with the universal health insurance now in place. But the limited coverage scope, spotty quality, and high costs means healthcare services still dissatisfactory for many.

The document notes that the government aims at establishing a “mature” universal healthcare insurance system covering 96.5 percent of the overall population while significantly increase the share of insurance payouts in healthcare costs. It also intends to improve the medical service by expanding the enrollment of medical professionals, hoping to have three certified or assistant doctors, and 4.7 registered nurses, for every 1,000 residents by 2030.

Cleaner air, cleaner water and safe food

Acknowledging that environmental pollution has become a major public health concern, the blueprint specifies the targets for a greener China, including increases of fine air quality as well as high-quality surface water

According to the blueprint, cities at the prefecture level and above will enjoy good air quality during more than 80 percent of days by 2020, with further progress expected by 2030.

In rural areas, in particular, greater efforts will be made to improve garbage disposal and treatment of sewage, as well as expanding the use of clean energy and access to safe drinking water.

The government will also have a nationwide network for monitoring food safety and recording food-borne diseases.


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