With obesity on the rise across China, doctors and nutritionists create healthy treatment path
Doctors released China's first medical guideline on Sunday to help overweight people get lighter.
The guideline, which comes as obesity rises sharply nationwide, covers the principles and methods that should be adopted to help people lose weight and keep it off. It was developed over nearly a year through the collective efforts of nearly 100 doctors and nutritionists across the country, according to the China International Exchange and Promotive Association for Medical and Health Care.
"The guidance is expected to encourage clinical nutritionists and related medical staff to provide standard weight loss services to patients using proper principals and methods," said Wang Qi, secretary-general of the association. It was jointly released by the association and three other medical organizations, including the Chinese Medical Doctor Association.
According to a report released by the National Health and Family Planning Commission last year, about 30 percent of people in China aged 18 or older are overweight, an increase of more than 7 percentage points over 2002, and the number of overweight people is increasing faster than in developed countries.
Excessive weight and obesity has been a major contributor to the prevalence of many chronic diseases such as diabetes in China, the commission has said.
Overweight people in general can reduce weight and maintain proper weight afterward through principles that include a balanced diet, proper exercise and psychological consultation, the guideline says, noting that a healthy lifestyle is a long-term benefit.
Chen Wei, vice-director of the Clinical Nutrition Branch of the Chinese Nutrition Society, said an increasing number of people have sought treatment to reduce weight in recent years, but many methods available in the market are not proper, and some can even harm health.
As a pilot program, the guideline will be adopted by 39 major public hospitals in 20 cities in China this year, including Peking Union Medical College Hospital, he said. "These hospitals will open special clinics for reducing weight," Chen said. "They will provide services including updated health records and customized weight-loss plans."
The guidance is expected to be promoted to more hospitals in the future, he said.
Aside from the rapidly increasing number of overweight people, the country is also facing specific challenges - for example, the incidence of excessive weight is also increasing in the rural areas, not just in the cities, Chen said.