Leading Causes Of Death In China

A healthy lifestyle involving proper diet and exercise might help the Chinese people to stay fit longer.
A healthy lifestyle involving proper diet and exercise might help the Chinese people to stay fit longer.

China is an expansive country with a population of 1.4 billion people. Roughly 18% of the population is under 15 years old, and 14% is over 60. According to WHO statistics, the life expectancy at birth for males is 75 years of age and for females is 78 in the country. On average, women have 1.8 babies during their lifetime. Just over half of the population, 53%, lives in urban areas. Some of the leading causes of deaths in China are discussed below.

Leading Causes Of Death


Nearly one-third, 28%, of all deaths in China are caused by malignant neoplasms or cancerous tumors. Of the cancers that affect the Chinese population, lung cancer is the most common. This disease is a result of the widespread practice of tobacco smoking, a habit the government is not keen on preventing given that the state tobacco corporation provides between 7% and 10% of the national revenue. Air pollution is another significant factor contributing to the development of cancer. China has one of the worst outdoor air qualities in the world. Additionally, a large portion of the population continues to cook and heat indoors by using coal and biomass fuels which pollute indoor air. In 2015, doctors discovered over 4 million new cases of cancer. The problem continues to grow.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the second ranked killer in the country and is responsible for 21% of the lives lost every year. Unfortunately, this disease is expected to increase as a result of an aging population. Controllable factors that contribute to the development of heart disease in China include high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure. These are mainly preventable (with the exception of genetically inherited diabetes) and are a reflection of lifestyle choices.

Cerebrovascular Disorders

Cerebrovascular disorders or stroke contributes to 11% of annual deaths in China. Health officials report more stroke patients here than in any other country in the world. Not all strokes result in death. However, they do shorten life expectancy. As with cardiovascular disease, stroke can be attributed to an aging population which China is currently experiencing. Mortality due to this disease is also more common in men than women, although it does occur in both sexes. Aside from aging, hypertension (high blood pressure) is the leading controllable factor in stroke occurrences. Because strokes are more common in northern China than in the southern areas, medical experts believe dietary or environmental influences are at play.

For a complete list of the leading causes of death in China, have a look below.

Access To Health Care

Since the mid-20th century, the Chinese government has been trying to improve healthcare in the country. This constant pursuit of reform has had adverse consequences on those living in rural areas, however, making access too expensive. To combat this undesired result, the government has initiated a rural healthcare system that is directed at both public and private establishments. The final aim is to make healthcare more affordable for individuals living in poverty. Like most public health services in the developing world, this system is plagued by insufficient funding, lack of medical professionals, and outdated equipment.

Leading Causes Of Death In China

RankCause Of Death% Of Total Deaths, 2012
1Malignant Neoplasms 28%
2Heart Disease21%
3Cerebrovascular Disease11%
4Diseases of the Respiratory System5%
5Endocrine, Nutritional & Metabolic Diseases3.4%
6Injury & Poisoning3%
7Diseases of the Digestive System3%
8Diseases of the Nervous System 1%
9Diseases of the Genitourinary System1%
10Infectious Diseases0.9%

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