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Diseases threatening China's economic growth: Minister

Beijing, Tue, 03 Apr 2012 ANI

Beijing, Apr.3 (ANI): China's Health Minister Chen Zhu has warned that the country is in danger of experiencing slow economic growth, because of diseases like cancer and other chronic ailments.

He said that the country's labor force was the element that would mostly be in danger to such diseases.

Non-communicable diseases which cause prolonged sickness are responsible for four out of five deaths in China, compared with about 63 percent globally, and absorb about 70 percent of the nation's health spending, the China Daily quoted Chen, as saying in an interview on Monday.

Fighting the threat requires tighter scrutiny of the tobacco industry, linked to one million deaths in China, he said.

China's gross domestic product has grown an average 10 percent a year for the past three decades, transforming the nation into the world's biggest exporter and replacing Japan as the second-biggest economy after the US.

The same time, the country now counts more than 90 million diabetes and 120 million chronic kidney disease sufferers - the most in the world.

"If we don't curb the fast rise of chronic diseases in China, it will have an impact not just on people's health, but also on society and the economy," Chen said in Hainan province, where he is attending the Boao Forum for Asia.

Unless preventative steps are taken, early deaths from so-called non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer will crimp China's national income by 558 billion dollars in the decade ending 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

Half of sufferers who die of chronic diseases are under 65 years of age, according to the World Bank.

China will consider expanding its healthcare workforce and increasing resources near major cities to improve access, Chen said. (ANI)

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