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Child obesity has already doubled this century in Beijing

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Child obesity has already doubled this century in Beijing

Related tags Food safety Organic food

Child obesity has already doubled this century in Beijing

Young people in China are being urged to eat more healthily and exercise more after an official survey showed damning results.

The Beijing Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that almost one-third of the 14,000 primary and secondary students surveyed in Beijing were not eating enough cereals, potatoes and vegetables but were consuming excessive quantities of fat, salt and sugar. 

Duan Jiali, who led the survey, said: "A lot of children are not taking in enough dietary fibre and carbohydrates, which matter a lot for maintaining a healthy metabolism​. 

Instead, they eat too much fried, overly salty and overly sweet food and snacks, which taste better but do harm to their health, resulting in obesity and high blood sugar​.”

Moreover, another study found that the number of young people in Beijing who are classified as obese has more than doubled since 2000. The report, by the Beijing Commission of Health and Family Planning, found the total of obese schoolchildren in the city was now 16%.

It also found that more children are facing the threat of chronic diseases, with nearly 67% of the obese students also having high blood sugar.

Last year, China’s capital launched a five-year programme to help teachers, students and parents eat more healthily.

Through the programme, they are issued dietary guidance on the quantities of food they should eat each day, and how much exercise should be taken to balance out the calories taken in through food.

Organic produce growing in popularity, even in lower-tier cities

China’s appetite for organic foods, spurred on by a continuous supply of food safety scandals, has been growing with now even second- and third-tier cities joining the trend.


Official figures show that China has planted more than 2m hectares of certified organic farmland since the boom began in 2010. Traditionally major cities, home to increasingly urbane populations who are more concerned about the quality of food than its price, have provided hubs for organic produce consumption. 

Such food can be extremely expensive in China. “It can vary between double the price of non-organic food option. Sometimes we even see ten times more expensive​,” Mintel analyst Xu Ruyi told CNTV. 

Swiss agricultural researcher FiBL recently published a report that suggested China's organic food market was worth US2.7m in 2013, making it the world’s third biggest. The Ministry of Agriculture's Green Food Development Center says demand has been growing at 30% a year over recent years.

Internet produce sales is another growing trend, with around 20% of shoppers now buying organic food from specialised online shops. 

Top court cracks down on food safety transgressors

Since the beginning of 2014, China’s highest court has investigated 652 officials over misconduct relating to food safety, including embezzlement and taking bribes.

The Supreme People's Court is China's apex judiciary

The news comes after the Supreme People’s Court launched another food safety crackdown in which they demanded heavier penalties for companies and individuals who violated food laws, the official Xinhua news agency said. 

The court also said in a circular to lower courts that companies that sold food online should be held liable for any safety issues that later affected consumers, urging firms to compensate consumers more quickly. 

Chinese authorities have shown a new aggression to food safety transgressors this year. In April, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature, adopted an amendment to the 2009 Food Safety Law that brings tougher civil, administrative and criminal penalties for offenders, who face fines three times greater than previously mandated.

The amendment also specifies punishment for managers who turn a blind eye to illegal activities on their premises, and suppliers who knowingly sell unlawful substances to food producers.

American appointed to head up ‘world’s biggest indoor aquaculture development’

Sustainable protein specialist Sino Agro Food (Siaf) has appointed 30-year aquaculture veteran Anthony C Ostrowski as its chief scientific officer to strengthen its sustainable fisheries offering.

Dr Ostrowski, who was president of the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii until 2012, was most recently chief executive of Wanshida Ocean Bio-tech, a Chinese aquaculture R&D firm based in Yangjiang.

The new CSO will be faced with bolstering the company’s emerging Zhongshan prawn project to introduce sustainable aquaculture to one of the most densely populated regions of the world. 

As far as we know, the project is the largest indoor aquaculture development in the world​,” said Siaf chief executive Solomon Lee.

Related topics Markets Food safety China East Asia

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