Researchers have warned that China could have almost 50 million children between the ages of seven and 18 that are overweight or obese by 2030.
Professor Ma Guansheng, a specialist on nutritional health at Peking University, has projected that there will be a 43 percent increase from 2014, when there were 35 million children who were overweight or obese according to World Health Organisation (WHO) classifications.
The researcher says that “childhood obesity has risen to epidemic proportions across the country.” 50 million schoolkids would be almost a third of the total across the mainland.
“In 1985, there were about 1.4 million children aged under seven who were classified as overweight, but that has risen to about 4.8 million,” adds Ma Guansheng, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.
According to another 2017 global study of the health impacts of overweight and obesity over the past 25 years, China already has the most obese children and the second-largest number of obese adults after the United States.
Experts blame sedentary lifestyles and a lack of physical education in Chinese schools.
In July, China released a national nutrition plan for 2017 to 2030 in order to address rates of obesity among its young people.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that the rate of obesity among Chinese students needs to be slowed by 2020 and under “effective” control by 2030.
The government says that the rate of overweight and obese Chinese people needs to “drop significantly” by 2030.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) May 11, 2017
The Communist Party wants more sports activities implemented into the educational curriculum.
It also argues that traditional Chinese medicine should be combined with western nutrition and exercise to improve Chinese health.