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Survey found Chronic illnesses affect 20% of Chinese

Chronic illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes have spread to affect one in five Chinese, a national survey showed Friday.

In 2008, the prevalence of all chronic diseases reached 20 percent in areas where the survey was conducted, which means about 260 million Chinese were suffering at least one such illness, according to the Ministry of Health survey.

Reports of hypertension and diabetes cases tripled in the past decade, while the numbers of heart disease and cancer almost doubled.

The number of cerebrovascular cases climbed from 5 million in 1993 to 13 million in 2008, the survey of almost 200,000 people in56,400 households across the country.

A rapidly ageing population, unhealthy lifestyles involving less physical exercise and smoking, and high-calorie diets were blamed as causing the rise in illnesses.

A total of 270 million Chinese still smoke, although the proportion of smokers among men and women smokers respectively dropped to 48 percent and 2.6 percent in 2008 from 48.8 percent and 3.2 percent in 2003.

Of the smokers, 62 percent smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day in 2008, compared with 51 percent in 2003, when the last survey was conducted.

On the other hand, the prevalence of infectious diseases has dropped constantly in the past five years, thanks to a wider coverage of vaccination programs.

The ratio of children vaccinated stood at 97.9 percent in 2008,a rise of 10 percentage points from that of 2003, the survey found.



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