Reviewing China S Pollution and Health Care Issues Essay

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China's Health Indicators

China has gone through impressive economic development over the past few years, and has experienced a big reduction in poverty along with other positive achievements. Due to improvement in living conditions, nutrition, and healthcare, there have been " ... declines in infant mortality and deaths from infectious diseases," according to The New England Journal of Medicine (He, 2005). But there have also been negatives associated with urbanization and industrialization -- in particular China's stubborn air pollution and its negative impacts on health -- that have increased the risk of " ... chronic disease, including vascular disease and cancer" (He, 1125). This paper reviews the health indicators for China along with other pertinent data and information relating to the well-being of the Chinese people.

China's Demographics and Data on Health Issues

The population of China (based on 2013 data from the World Health Organization -- WHO) is approximately 1.363 billion. The percentage of Chinese people living in urban areas is 53.2%, and the percentage of people under five years of age is 6.0% while the percentage of people over 65 is 8.9% (WHO). The life expectancy at birth in China is 75 years and the mortality rate for children under the age of 5 (per 1,000 live births) is 12.

Other data includes: a) the total expenditure on health as a percentage of China's gross domestic product (5.6%); b) the density of physicians per 1,000 population is 1.491; c) the density of nursing and midwifery persons per 1,000 people is 1.656; c) the adolescent fertility rate per 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 to 19 is 6.2; d) the maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 live births is 34; e) the infant mortality rate (between ages of birth and age 1) per 1,000 live births is 9.2; f) the neonatal mortality rate per 1,000 live births is 5.5; g) the stillbirth rate per 1,000 total births is 10; and h) there are about 42 hospital beds per every 10,000 population (WHO).

Leading Causes of Death in China

Dr. Jiang He and colleagues report that the five leading causes of death in China were: "malignant neoplasms" (374.1 per 100,000 person-years); heart-related diseases (319.1 per 100,000 person-years); cerebrovascular disease (310.5); accidents (54.0); and "infectious diseases" (50.5) (He, 1124).

The leading causes of death among adults in China is vascular disease and cancer; key strategies needed in order to reduce the number of premature deaths among adults, He reports, is: a) control of hypertension; b) cessation of smoking; c) increased physical activity; and d) improved nutrition (1124).

China's Air Pollution Problems

An article in the peer-reviewed journal Lancet points out that Beijing (site of the 2008 Olympics) -- and neighboring north-east Chinese provinces -- have " ... the world's worst levels of nitrogen dioxide, which can cause fatal damage to the lungs" (Watts, 2005). In fact the air pollution levels in China result in an estimated 400,000 premature deaths per year (Watts, 1761). It should come as no surprise that China's citizens suffer from the negative effects of air pollution when it is known that China is the world's " ... second-largest producer of greenhouse gases," and that acid rain falls on about "a third of its territory" (Watts, 1761).

Watts writes (based on World Bank claims) that China is home to 16 of the 20 most air-polluted cities in the world; moreover, an estimated 100 million people live in cities in China where the pollution in the air reaches "very dangerous" levels (Watts, 1761). The smog produced by coal-fired electrical generating plants and by autos is blamed for "the sharp rises in cases of bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, tuberculosis, and lung cancer," Watts continues, referencing the World Bank data (1761).

World Bank Overview of China's…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

He, J, Gu, D., Wu, X, Reynolds, K., Duan, X., Yao, C., Wang, J., Chen, C-S, Chen, J.,

Wildman, R.P., Klag, M.J., and Whelton, P.K. (2005). Major Causes of Death among

Men and Women in China. The New England Journal of Medicine, 353(11), 1124-34.

Ooi, E. W-L. (2005). The World Bank's Assistance to China's Health Sector. The World

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