BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese children are 6
centimeters(2.34 inches) taller and roughly 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) heavier
than 30 years ago as a result of the country's improved economic situation and
better nutrition, according to a national research result published by the
Ministry of Health on Saturday.
The survey shows that the average height of
6-year-old boys rose from 112.3 centimeters in 1975 to 118.7 centimeters in
2005. Girls kept abreast of boys with their average height reaching 117.7
centimeters, 6.2 centimeters more than in 1975, the survey said.
The survey, conducted by the Ministry of Health every
ten years since 1975, was carried out over five months from May to October 2005
and polled over 138,775 children in urban and suburban areas of nine major
cities: Beijing, Harbin, Xi'an, Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Fuzhou, Guangzhou and
Kunming. Of the respondees, 69,760 were urban residents and 69,015 live in the
The taller children are posing unexpected "problems"
for city transport authorities. In June this year, the municipal government of
Beijing had to revise the height under which kids get a free bus ride from 1.1
meters high to 1.2 meters.
The free bus ride height in Liaoning Province --
where people are taller than in the rest of China -- has gone up to 1.3 meters.
Children living in suburban areas used to be much
shorter than their city cousins. Now the difference is down to 2.6 centimeters
from 4.9 centimeters, the survey said.
The national survey also found that children weigh
more than they did 30 years ago, said Yang Qing, director of the Department of
Maternal & Child Health Care and Community Health under the Ministry of
Health, at a press conference.
A boy's average weight in 2005 was 21.7 kilograms, up
3 kgs on 1975, and girls tipped the scales at 20.8 kilograms, 2.7 kgs heavier,
The extra weight is not all muscle. The yawning
wealth divide in China means that the number of overweight and obese children in
cities is rising sharply while in the countryside -- especially in remote
western regions -- many children are undernourished.
China has developed at a blistering pace in the last
three decades since embarking on the road of reform and opening up.