China is planning to draft laws and regulations on public nutrition to improve the nation's health, according to an official of the Ministry of Health Thursday.
"The ministry has designated some experts with the China nutrition academy to make a study in legislation, especially concerning children, the elderly and the sick's nutritional conditions," said Chen Hui, head with the policy and law department of the health ministry.
The nutrition level is an important indicator of a nation's overall strength. However, in the current Chinese laws, little attention is paid to public nutrition, said Yu Xiaodong, director with China Public Nutrition and Development Center, adding that it is time to make supporting laws now.
A survey by the China Disease Prevention and Control Center shows that 3 percent of Chinese urban residents suffer from anaemia and 580 million people are more or less deficient in vitamin A. Two thirds of the rural population is malnourished.
According to statistics provided by World Bank, China's immediate losses caused by malnutrition were estimated at 400-680 billion yuan (84 billion US dollars) in 2004.
At present, some chronic diseases induced by irrational diet are also on a rapid rise. Diabetes sufferers have reached 20 million and 7.1 percent of adults suffer from obesity.
The hard facts confront China with the urgency of making laws and regulations in order to provide healthy diet guidance and improve the public health.
"The concerned departments are working heartily, trying to include a public nutrition improvement program into China's 11th Five-Year Plan, which will give a big hand to our work," said Yu Xiaodong.