Good nutrition and health is the foundation for a population’s social and
economic development. For the individual, malnutrition casts a long shadow of
disability, and increases suffering as well as the risk of premature death.
When micronutrient deficiencies affect a large proportion of the population,
the disease burden can significantly slow down economic development of the
Over the past ten years, rapid social and economic development in China has
provided the foundation for eliminating malnutrition and improving the health
of the Chinese people. On the other hand, it has resulted in changes in diet,
lifestyle and disease patterns.
Although the nutritional quality of Chinese diets has improved significantly
in recent years, and the prevalence of nutrient deficiencies has continuously
decreased, China still faces the dual challenges of nutrient deficiency and
nutrition imbalance. Deficiencies of micronutrients such as iron and vitamin A
are still common, and pose a serious problem, especially among children in
Nevertheless, the Chinese Ministry of Health was recently able to announce
that the government’s massive drive to reduce damage caused by vitamin and
mineral deficiencies, particularly to children, is paying rich dividends for
China’s economy. Efforts to protect China’s 250 million inhabitants now
suffering from hidden hunger are expected to boost GDP by $86 billion over the
next ten years.