The Rich-poor Gap: Obesity and Malnutrition in Children

By Lin Yuguo, Central News Agency
October 12, 2005 12:00 am Last Updated: August 21, 2015 5:57 pm

Reducing the rich-poor gap is the main objective of the Chinese Communist Party’s fifth plenum of the sixteenth session of Chinese Communist Party Congress. It is reported that in poor western regions of China that nearly 30 percent of children younger than five years old have malnutrition and among the worst provinces are those of Yunnan and Guizhou. Meanwhile, 30 percent of children in rich cities suffer from obesity, also known as “rich man’s disease.”

According to Hong Kong’s The Sun, results of a national survey show that children in both poor and wealthy regions have health problems. The survey was conducted by The Nutrition and Food Safety Institute under the Chinese National Disease Control and Prevention Center, and studied more than 23,000 five-year-old children nationally.

Women in Yunnan, Guizhou and Qinghai, and other poor and undeveloped provinces, have insufficient nutrients during their pregnancy and commonly give birth to underweight babies. As children from low-income families grow and develop, they suffer from malnutrition due to food shortages, resulting in over 29 percent with insufficient nutrition.

On the other hand, most mothers in the cities give up breast-feeding due to busy work schedules. They substitute breast-feeding with fruit juice and milk powder to feed their babies. This causes the babies to consume excess sugar during growth, which leads to being unnecessary weight gain and obesity.

Experts stated that although there are plenty of healthy foods available in the cities, teenagers tend to favor fast foods that are high in fat or sugar. Therefore, their unhealthy eating habits could put them at risk of hypertension.