China sees evident decline in adolescent stunting

BEIJING, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) — The national prevalence of adolescent stunting in China has been declining over the past three decades, despite regional disparities, according to a supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health for China.

Entitled “Adolescent Health in China: Epidemiology, Policy, Financing and Service Provision,” the supplement, which includes six papers, was jointly released by UNICEF China and Peking University Health Science Center.

Adolescent health is an important focus of the Chinese government, and the series of results presented in the supplement will make a vital contribution to child and adolescent health-related policy making, said Zhang Ning, deputy director of Peking University Health Science Center.

An article in the supplement found that mortality among Chinese children aged between five to 14 declined from eight to two per 1,000 from 1990 to 2018, faster than the global average.

It also pointed out that the adolescent mortality burden has shifted from communicable to non-communicable diseases since the 1950s.

In addition, injuries dominated the causes of adolescent death in China. For example, road injuries and drowning were the leading causes of death in 2016.

In another study, researchers found that the country’s adolescents are threatened by obesity and dental caries. The findings indicated that the prevalence of permanent dental caries decreased gradually between 1995 and 2000 in China but increased from 2000 to 2014, and the prevalence in rural areas surpassed urban areas for the first time in 2014. Researchers believe changes in dietary patterns might have contributed to the transformation.

Other studies also shed light on the country’s allocation of spending on adolescent health, the framework of adolescent health indicators and adolescent health care in hospitals.

Douglas Noble, deputy representative to UNICEF China, said the organization will continue to provide support for research in adolescent health and keep accelerating advocacy and promoting the adolescent health agenda to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

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