Risk Dialogue Series - Health Risk Factors in China

03 Mar 2015

Among emerging markets, China’s health profile has changed quickly, so that the incidence of non-communicable chronic diseases NCDs now resembles that of a developed market. Much of this change reflects an ageing population, a high prevalence of smoking, and rapid urbanisation, particularly in mega cities with poor air quality. Establishing an effective system of public and private healthcare provision, together with social security coverage in the event of illness or death, is a major undertaking for the country’s authorities.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in China. The medical cost of CVD has been trending upwards at varying rates by geographic location over the past six years, and is projected to increase further in the future. Currently, over 90% of the population in China is covered by the social healthcare system that went through a recent reform in 2009. However, insurance coverage on CVD remains a major challenge and is putting the Chinese population at risk. It is expected to cause even more significant economic burden in the future.

This publication is part of the joint research collaboration by Swiss Re and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It describes the research undertaken by 45 colleagues from both institutions. It is an important component of what we call the Systematic Explanatory Analyses of Risk factors affecting Cardiovascular Health (SEARCH) project. The aim of our collaboration is to clarify the relationship between risk factors and health outcomes in the rapidly evolving countries of Brazil, China, India and Mexico. Their health profile is changing swiftly and significantly with economic growth. NCDs are rising rapidly, creating a major challenge for public and private providers and funders of health care.

Key findings:

  • Cardiovascular Disease CVD is with 41% the leading cause of death in China causing significant financial distress

  • Estimated 3 years lost life expectancy in highly air polluted cities such as Beijing

  • China has experienced a dramatic shift from its tradition dietary pattern to a Western dietary pattern in recent decades leading to a rapid increase in serum cholesterol levels

  • An alarming trend of a dramatic increase in obesity has been observed in children

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This publication is part of the joint research collaboration by Swiss Re and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It describes the research undertaken by 45 colleagues from both institutions. It is an important component of what we call the Systematic Explanatory Analyses of Risk factors affecting Cardiovascular Health (SEARCH) project. The aim of our collaboration is to clarify the relationship between risk factors and health outcomes in the rapidly evolving countries of Brazil, China, India and Mexico. Their health profile is changing swiftly and significantly with economic growth. NCDs are rising rapidly, creating a major challenge for public and private providers and funders of health care.

Contact
Andreas Obrist

Business Development Manager
Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue
Tel: +41 43 285 96 07

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To order print copies of the publication please mail to publications@swissre.com. Order no: 1506005_14_EN

Mandarin publication:
1506005_14_CN