According to China Daily today, a survey in southwest China's Guizhou Province and neighboring Yunnan and Qinghai provinces found that nearly one-third of children in poorest areas were malnourished, though it did not say when the research was conducted or published or who ran it.
"The problem often surfaces when mothers stop breastfeeding their babies," Han Junhua, a researcher from the Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, said at a Symposium on Child Nutrition and Health. Where or when it was held and who organized it were not reported.
According to the survey's results, more than 29 percent of those under five years old in the three provinces' poorest regions gained weight slower than normal.
In contrast, China Daily said 30 percent of the urban population is overweight and about 1 percent of urban children malnourished.
Han said that in rural areas, parents often depend on cheap syrup, malt, orange juice and even coke to feed their children.
"As a result," she said, "toddlers in underdeveloped regions are also generally shorter than kids in cities." However, in cities where milk, milk formula, yogurt and many other foodstuffs are available, severe obesity now affects 16 to 20 percent of youngsters.
Han's Beijing-based institute conducted a survey of over 200,000 people across the country, including 23,400 children aged five and below, which found the average birth weight of babies topped 3,300 grams, nearing the level of developed countries, though newborns in rural areas were less heavy.
In addition, young people between three and 18 years old are on average three centimeters taller than a decade ago.
But the survey also found that 25 percent of children two years old and below in cities and 33 percent in rural areas suffer anemia.
China Daily's report did not say when the institute's national survey was conducted or published.
(China Daily October 8, 2005)