China as a nation has grown in stature since unleashing its economy more than two decades ago but so have its people, who are getting taller, Xinhua News Agency reported.

A chubby baby smiling in front of the portrait of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, in 2002. China as a nation has grown in stature since unleashing its economy more than two decades ago but so have its people, who are getting taller and heavier, state media reported.(AFP
A chubby baby smiles in at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, in 2002. China as a nation has grown in stature since unleashing its economy more than two decades ago but so have its people, who are getting taller and heavier.

Chinese children are an average 6 cm (2.34 inches) taller and roughly 3 kg (6.6 pounds) heavier than they were 30 years ago, Xinhua said, citing a report released by the Ministry of Health on Saturday.

The average height of six-year-old boys grew from 112.3 centimeters in 1975 to 118.7 cm, according to the survey conducted in 2005.

Girls averaged 117.7 cm tall, 6.2 cm more than in 1975, the survey said. The survey has been conducted every 10 years since 1975.

China’s people suffered from decades of privation, but have seen incomes and nutrition blossom more recently.

The survey polled 138,775 children in urban and suburban areas of nine major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.

The average weight of boys in 2005 was 21.7 kg, up 3 kg from 1975, while girls averaged 20.8 kg — 2.7 kgs heavier, Xinhua said.

Being better fed has brought problems, however, including an alarming rise in obesity — once unheard of in China — and related illnesses such as diabetes.

Health officials have blamed the problem on reduced consumption of grains and vegetables in favor of more fatty junk foods.

Saturday’s report pointed out some adjustments made necessary by China’s growth spurt, including Beijing’s move this year to raise the height under which children get free public bus rides.

Despite the better nutrition in cities, countless children in China’s still-backward rural areas suffered from malnutrition, the report noted.

Via China Daily