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RFA: China has 260 Million Chronically Ill Patients û 20 Percent of the Population

According to the Ministry of Health, there are 260 million chronically ill patients in China. In other words, 20 percent of the population suffers from chronic illness. Of those, 85 percent die from their illness, which is higher than the average around the world. Many experts believe that an increase in the rate of chronic illness is related to diet (problems with tainted food) and living habits as well as environmental pollution. The most common chronic illnesses are: cardio-cerebrovascular, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease.

The World Health Organization estimated that the medical treatment of chronic diseases accounts for 80 percent of the total medical expenses in China. The early deaths due to these illnesses will result in US$55.8 trillion in economic losses over the next ten years. By 2015, China’s annual medical expenses will reach US$50 billion. According to The National Center for Chronic and Noncommunicable Disease Control and Prevention, 83.8 percent of the Chinese population that is 18 or older never exercise, while only 11.9 percent exercise three times a week or more and at least 10 minutes each time. Most of the people who do not exercise spend their time online or watching TV.

According to Beijing Daily, China has 22 percent of the world’s population while its medical spending accounts for only 2 percent of the world’s total. From 1993 to 2008, the number of patients in China grew from 4.36 to 5.25 billion, a 20 percent increase in 15 years. The economic burden resulting from the illnesses increased 6.5 times from 1999 to 2005, while GDP only grew 4.2 times.

Source: Radio Free Asia, August 18, 2012