More than 20 million people have diabetes in China while another 20 million suffer impaired glucose tolerance, a pre-diabetic state, the Ministry of Health said here on Wednesday.
Diabetes has become a serious health problem in China, said Qi Xiaoqiu, director of the ministry's disease control and prevention department, on the first United Nation World Diabetes Day.
"Many Chinese eat more and exercise less, which is the main reason why the number of diabetes patients, especially type 2 diabetes, is growing fast," Qi said.
He warned the public of the increasing cases of obesity that could lead to diabetes, especially in children.
According to the ministry's figures, 12 percent of children in big Chinese cities were overweight.
The latest sampling survey in Beijing of 17,311 children between eight and 18 revealed that 21.58 percent were overweight and 0.21 percent had type 2 diabetes.
The Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday that 0.54 percent of kids between six and 18 in the capital had diabetes.
Overweight people were also more easily resistant to insulin than people of normal weight, said Yang Wenying, director of the diabetes branch of the Chinese Medical Association.
"A kid has to go through lots of difficulties in daily life if caught by diabetes. They may suffer serious complications such as renal failure and vision loss in the future if the situation gets worse."
She suggested that kids should eat less fast food, snacks and soft drinks, watch less TV and play less computer games while going outdoor more.
"Mothers-to-be should also balance their diet as well to avoid giving birth to overweight infants," she added.
(Xinhua News Agency November 15, 2007)