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Global Health
July 17, 2013

China’s Shifting Burden of Disease

JAMA. 2013;310(3):250. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.17109

In the past 2 decades, China has made enormous improvements in the health of its population, but it has also seen a shift in the burden of disease, according to an analysis carried out by an international collaboration of researchers (Yang G et al. Lancet. 2013;381:1987-2015).

Assessing data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010, the researchers compared various measures of health in China with those in the 18 other countries that are members of the G20 (20 major economies that include 19 countries and the European Union). China has achieved progress in improving life expectancy, reducing child mortality, and reducing infectious diseases. But the country also has seen an increase in deaths from stroke, ischemic heart disease, road injuries, HIV/AIDS, and some cancers. China’s leading cause of death remains chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.