The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a guide to healthy eating for Chinese children and their parents in its latest attempt to halt growing obesity levels among the country's youth.
"The snack consumption guide for the Chinese youth", the first of its kind in China, has been designed by renowned dieticians based on the principles of snack consumption by children in the United States and Hong Kong region, said Yu Dongmei, researcher with the food safety and nutrition institute under the CDC.
"Snacks are a natural part of a reasonable diet," according to the guidelines, but warns that children should not have food or drinks containing excessive fat, sugar and salt such as instant noodles, candies and tinned food, which increases risks of obesity and hypertension.
Children are advised to "moderately" eat chocolate, cake, ham and dried beef, which are "relatively rich in nutritional content".
Many parents said they would take the guide as a reference when buying snacks for children. A woman surnamed Liu in southeast city of Nanjing said that she would like to see "rating marks" on snack packaging.
However, Nanjing Quality Inspection Bureau said it's unlikely to make food companies print "rating marks" on packages in the near future as the guide was only a "tentative probe" that could not be taken as an official regulation.