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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Chinese concern at obesity surge
Seven-year-old boy at fat people's party in northeastern city of Shenyang
There are worries that some children are being fed excessively
The rate of obesity in China has increased by 97% in 10 years, according to a government report.

China's first official nutrition and health survey shows that between 1992 and 2002 more than 60 million people became obese.

The biggest problem is in China's cities, where 12% of adults and 8% of children were classified as obese.

Health officials have been blaming diets too high in fat and a decrease in physical exercise.

They warn that obesity is likely to increase even further.

However, the study also found that levels of malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies have dropped.

Health advice needed

Results of the 2002 survey were not fully computed until this year because of the large numbers of people involved - more than 270,000 took part in the survey.

The Chinese population does not have enough awareness and lacks knowledge of what is a reasonable nutrition and diet
Wang Longde
Chinese vice health minister
It found that while China had made progress in reducing poverty its people needed advice about how to live a healthy lifestyle.

"The Chinese population does not have enough awareness and lacks knowledge of what is a reasonable nutrition and diet," AFP news agency quoted Vice Health Minister Wang Longde as saying.

Some people - especially urban residents - were eating too much meat, oils and fats and not enough cereals, he said.

Parents and grandparents often fed their offspring excessively to make up for being fed inadequately themselves, he added.

A rise in car use and less physical labour were also contributing factors, the survey said.

Altogether, around 200 million people are thought to be overweight, 22.8% of the population, and 60 million (7.1%) obese.

The percentage of overweight people in the cities rose to 30%, and the Beijing Morning Post published results of separate city survey indicating that in the capital the figure was as high as 60%.

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