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A diet for the richer but rounder
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The Ministry of Health released revised diet guidelines to battle increasingly poor eating habits among Chinese who are getting richer but unhealthier.

The guidelines are posted on the ministry's Website and written by the Chinese Nutrition Society as an update of the ministry's previous diet guidelines issued in 1997.

About 60 million Chinese - the equivalent of the population of France - were considered obese by the end of 2006, according to a previous report by Xinhua news agency. About 160 million Chinese had high blood pressure, up from 90 million in 1991, and 20 million had diabetes by the end of 2005, according to the health ministry.

The guidelines advise people to eat more fruit, vegetables and potatoes as well as daily essentials like dairy and bean products.

People are advised to eat between 250 and 400 grams of grain, between 300 and 500 grams of fruit and between 200 and 400 grams of vegetables daily.

To stay healthy, people should also eat between 125 and 225 grams of fish, meat and eggs every day, the guidelines said.

The equivalent of 300 milliliters of fresh milk should be consumed daily in dairy products and between 30 and 50 grams of bean products are also recommended.

People are advised to eat less cooking oil and salt, two contributing factors to high blood pressure and obesity.

The amount of cooking oil eaten every day should be less than 25 grams while salt should be less than six grams, according to the guidelines.

Six cups of water, or about 1,200 milliliters, is enough to cater for the needs of an adult every day and people are encouraged to drink regularly rather than only when they feel thirsty.

Exercise is another key to staying healthy, the guidelines said.

Adults should walk at least 6,000 steps and should also take part in 30 minutes of medium intensity exercise several times a week.

(Shanghai Daily January 17, 2008)

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