China is experiencing a rapid epidemiological transition. The incidence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) has risen sharply and NCDs are now estimated to cause 85% of total deaths. Cardiovascular diseases, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases are the major causes of death in China, both in urban and rural areas. An ageing population will further hasten this disease transition.
Behavioral risk factors for NCDs such as tobacco use, the harmful use of alcohol, high salt, sugar and fat content in diets, and lack of sufficient physical activity are prevalent as lifestyles in China are changing due to the country’s rapid socioeconomic development. There are over 315 million smokers in China, and nearly 10% of adults, or around 110 million people, have diabetes. The China Nutrition and NCD Report (2015) shows that the rate of harmful alcohol consumption among drinkers over 18 years of age was 9.3% in 2012; the average daily amount of salt intake of Chinese residents above 18 years of age is 10.5 grams per person (more than twice than 5.0 grams per day recommended by the WHO); and only 18.7% of the population aged between 20 and 69 exercise regularly.