Chinese people aged between 18 and 44 grew taller on average over the 2015-20 period, said an official with the National Health Commission on Monday.
Average heights for men and women in this age group edged up 1.2 centimeters and 0.8 cm to 169.7 cm and 158 cm respectively during the period, Liu Jinfeng, director of the department of food safety standards, risk surveillance and assessment with the commission, said at a news conference.
“Monitoring results revealed that the nutritional and health status of Chinese people has continued to improve over the past years, and the disparity between urban and rural areas is gradually narrowing,” he said.
With improved nutrient intake, the stunting rate among children aged six and below dropped from 11.3 percent in 2015 to 5.8 percent in 2020, the commission”s data showed.
Furthermore, the average daily per capita consumption of salt from cooking dropped by 1.2 grams over the years to 9.3 grams in 2020.
As of the end of last year, about 13.7 million babies in previously impoverished areas in China had benefited from a nationwide program aimed at improving their nutrition, the commission said.
The commission initiated the program in 2012 to provide micronutrient sachets for infants and young children aged 6 months to 2 years in impoverished areas. The food supplement package contains essential proteins, vitamins and minerals to counter malnutrition.
China also launched a program in 2011 to issue nutrition subsidies to primary and middle school students in rural areas.
Ding Gangqiang, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nutrition and Health Institute, said that each student can now receive a 5 yuan (75 cents) subsidy per day.