The Abacus

Healthy China Initiative

By: ACBC National

Healthy China Initiative

Last month China’s State Council launched the Healthy China Action Plan for 2019-2030 as part of the national strategy to implement the Healthy China Initiative.

This initiative was endorsed by the 19th National Congress in 2017 as part of the central government’s blueprint Healthy China 2030 to promote a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and a balanced diet.

“The Initiative is an important decision by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council to enhance people's happiness and health and promote national renewal,” said Yu Xuejun, deputy head of the National Health Commission.

The Healthy China Initiative, proposes 15 campaigns to promote healthy lifestyles and health at various stages of life, and to control major diseases and set health targets. The 15 campaigns address major public health concerns, such as mental health, student myopia, smoking and major chronic diseases, and offer dietary and fitness advice.

Such national targets from the Chinese government set clear targets for Chinese policy makers at all levels of government.  It is imperative for Australian firms to pay attention to these national targets to identify opportunities where their products or services can align with the Chinese government’s long-term goals and policy objectives.

A New Approach to Health in China

These campaigns signal a shift in the focus of health work from treating diseases to promoting health and wellbeing, and a shift from depending on medical institutions to encourage public participation and action so that people can take responsibility for their own good health.

“The health system is changing its thinking and methods.” Yu claims. “While continuing to deepen medical reform, increasing access to medical treatment and lowering costs, the government will vigorously promote the transformation from ‘centering on the treatment of diseases’ to ‘centering on people's health.’

What does this mean for Australian firms?

Australia has a strong reputation as a nation that embraces physical activity and produces clean and healthy food. As a result, many Australian industries stand to benefit in aligning themselves with China’s ambitious Healthy China Initiative.

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement has seen many agriculture products have their tariffs reduced to zero, resulting in unique access to the China market for those producing food and beverage products that are clean and green. Dairy, grain, fruit and vegetable-based products, as well as health products, such as supplements or vitamins, could leverage the Healthy China Initiative to increase their market share across middle class Chinese households looking to live a healthier lifestyle.

Moreover, education providers, such as schools or universities with partners in China, could enhance their cooperation to include physical exercise exchanges and school camps focused on healthy living. Providers of sport expertise and technology would also be well placed to engage with Chinese schools and sporting clubs to leverage Australia’s professionalism in sport technology and physical exercise curricula.

Australian health care providers providing aged care, medical training and mental health care could additionally apply their health expertise in the overarching Initiative that seeks to revolutionise the way China addresses issues of health and wellbeing.

Measuring Progress

By 2030, the main health indicators for residents in China will reach the levels of high-income countries. Specific health targets have been set for all 15 campaigns.

Poor knowledge about health is reflected in a poor diet and other unhealthy lifestyles. Many people have a diet rich in sugar, fat and salt, which leads to obesity and chronic diseases. It has been reported that Chinese people's waistlines have been expanding at a rate much faster than the country's economic growth, and China has even exceeded the U.S. as the country with the largest number of overweight people.

The Healthy China Action Plan aims to lower the obesity rate and increase the proportion of people engaging in regular exercise to at least 37% and 40% by the year 2022 and 2030, respectively, while offering dietary and fitness advice.

Furthermore, the Action Plan has set binding targets to ensure the health of primary and middle school students. By 2030, 90% of these schools must have full-time or part-time health teachers and professional health workers as well as full-time or part-time psychological consultants.

Adapted from: A Recipe for Good Health -

Image and infographic source -


Post your comments here


Chris Sep 22 7:18:am

How do I get involved in this initiative?

ShaneSep 2 5:28:am

They could, but there are many regulatory hurdles for Australian businesses to enter this space. Yes there is a Australia-China Free Trade agreement but within health it only has provisions for hospitals only and temporary licenses (6 months licenses) for Australian Drs to work within a pre-approved Hospital! As such there is is no scope for “proactive healthcare”, or non-hospital/non-medical based care within the current policies or free trade! “allied health” was not included in the Australia-China free trade agreement, and currently only health professionals from HK or Taiwan are recognised to get legal rights for provision of healthcare within China. Joint-venture with a pre-established Chinese hospital is the only method currently an Australian entity could enter this healthcare space, but then it’s not “proactive health” and still traditional medical model! That said there is thoughts in Shanghai and Beijing if possible changes in coming years, however we are waiting!