China: GDP growth accelerates as middle class shifts to healthier food

China’s GDP growth accelerated for first time since 2010. It grew by 6.9 percent in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. In nominal terms, the GDP increased by 11.2 percent for a total value of RMB 82.7 trillion (US$ 12.86 trillion). 

The stronger-than-expected performance brings to an end six consecutive years of declining GDP growth rates. In 2016, China’s GDP grew at 6.7 percent – its slowest rate in 26 years.

Furthermore, vegetarianism and organic food is on the rise in China’s wealthier cities. The country’s growing middle class indulges in lighter, healthier foods. Restaurant manager Kelly He told chinadialogue that changing food habits and health concerns are attracting more Chinese people too, drawn in by the low-sugar, low-salt and low-calorie options.

The nation’s health has declined in recent years and is linked to a rapid change in lifestyle including diet. A 2015 report into nutrition and chronic disease found obesity and various chronic diseases worsened between 2002 and 2012 across China. National health and nutrition surveys have repeatedly linked obesity with health problems in groups with poor diet.

Official nutritional advice from the government recommends eating less red meat, poultry and seafood, and there are signs that consumers are listening. People are also eating more fresh fruit and vegetables.

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