This seminar will present empirical evidence about policies to promote healthy lifestyles in China from a professor and a policymaker from the PRC.
As a result of economic growth, urbanization, lifestyle change, and population aging, Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) have become China’s leading cause of death, accounting for 86.6% of annual deaths. Almost two-thirds of NCDs can be prevented by reducing unhealthy lifestyle choices such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol, and unhealthy diets. In particular, dietary risk factors and insufficient physical activity increasingly contribute to the surging burden of obesity in China and globally.
The risk of many diseases including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes mellitus, and certain cancers increases many folds in association with obesity. Hence, the prevention and control of NCDs is remiss without a concerted promotion of a healthy diet and physical activity. Maintaining a healthy weight status in childhood is important, given that childhood obesity can increase the risk of short- and long-term adverse consequences, both physically and mentally. Taking forward the agenda of prevention and control of obesity, it has been noted that a considerable proportion of marketing targets children and adolescents to promote consumption of energy-dense fast foods, carbonated soft drinks, sugary breakfast cereals and salty snacks which tend to be high in fats, sugars and salt and nutrient-poor, resulting in increased risk of overweight and obesity. Furthermore, physical activity in or near green space has been linked to important health outcomes including obesity reduction, lower blood pressure and extended life spans. Hence, it was recognized that effective NCD prevention and control require leadership, multi-level and multi-sector “whole-community” approaches.
In 2016, President Xi Jinping announced the “Healthy China 2030” Blueprint. Three years later, a corresponding action plan was released and encompassed 15 goals, including reducing obesity, increasing overall physical activity, and preventing NCDs. The presenters will discuss results of research on the determinants of healthy diet, physical activity, obesity, and noncommunicable diseases, and provide evidence for implementation of Healthy China 2030. Their research includes aspects on (1) unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children; (2) the link between green space, physical activity, and health outcomes; (3) family and school environment for preschool-aged children overweight and obesity prevention; (4) a strategy to involve government and non-health sectors in the prevention and control of NCDs in China; and (5) preventive vaccinations and primary care management for individuals living with NCDs like diabetes.
Juan Zhang is Associate Professor at School of Public Health, Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) & China Academy of Medical Science (CAMS). She conducts research on risk factors of noncommunicable disease (NCD), such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, nutrition, physical activity, using policy, socio-ecological, and behavioral approaches. She currently is principal investigators to (1) assessing mass media (mainly television) food advertisement, (2) investigate underlying family environment, school policy and environment of preschool children overweight and obesity, (3) evaluate the implementation and impact of government-led programs to prevent and control NCD. Prior to joining PUMC, Dr. Zhang has had diverse working experience over 10 years across national government agency, WHO, academic institutions, and multinational pharmaceutical company.
Dr. Juan ZHANG holds a Ph.D. in Health Behavior from the Indiana University Bloomington. She has published in the areas of chronic disease epidemiology, economic cost and behavioral determinants of obesity, and public health program evaluation. She serves as members of several professional societies, like Committee of Diabetes Prevention and Control of Chinese Preventive Medicine Association (CPMA), Committee of NCD Disease Prevention and Control of CPMA, Committee of Health Communication of China Health Education Association, and Committee of Student Nutrition and Health, Chinese Student Nutrition and Health Promotion Federation.
Xiangyu Chen is a working staff from Non-communicable Disease (NCDs) Control and Prevention Department in Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention. He is a public health physician and his ongoing areas of research include development of risk prediction models using health check-up data, and cost-effectiveness evaluation for flu shots among the diabetes. He completed his MS in Epidemiology and BA in Preventive Medicine at Soochow University.