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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Diseases threaten economic growth

(China Daily)

11:11, April 03, 2012

China, the world's biggest cigarette market, may suffer slower economic growth because of cancer and other chronic diseases that are hurting the labor force, Minister of Health Chen Zhu said.

Non-communicable diseases which cause prolonged sickness are responsible for four out of five deaths in China, compared with about 63 percent globally, and absorb about 70 percent of the nation's health spending, Chen said in an interview on Monday. Fighting the threat requires tighter scrutiny of the tobacco industry, linked to 1 million deaths in China, he said.

China's gross domestic product has grown an average 10 percent a year for the past three decades, transforming the nation into the world's biggest exporter and replacing Japan as the second-biggest economy after the US. The same time, the country now counts more than 90 million diabetes and 120 million chronic kidney disease sufferers - the most in the world.

"If we don't curb the fast rise of chronic diseases in China, it will have an impact not just on people's health, but also on society and the economy," Chen said in Hainan province, where he is attending the Boao Forum for Asia. "It could affect the continuity of our economic growth because a lot of deaths caused by chronic diseases are in people younger than 60."

The government wants to improve the efficiency of health services as it grapples with a rising incidence of life-long diseases.

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Can china leaders are willingly forego the revenue of the cigarette"s tax

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