China project

From Academic Kids

The China Project is an ongoing extensive study of the correlation of disease epidemiology with the increasing urbanisation of the many provinces of China, and with the changes in eating patterns and lifestyles which this Westernisation is bringing.

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Funding and dates of the project

The study is jointly funded by the Universities of Oxford, Cornell and the Government of China. Professor Colin Campbell led the first two major studies in the 1980s and 1990s.

Results of the project

Professor Campbell stated that the project showed a close correlation between an increase in animal fat (i.e. dairy and meat) consumption, and increase in some diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes.

He also said that analysis of the research results shows that the Western countries should note the following results when looking at their food and health policies:

  • The greater the variety of plant-based foods in the diet, the greater the benefit. Variety insures broader coverage of known and unknown nutrient needs.
  • Provided there is plant food variety, quality and quantity, a healthful and nutritionally complete diet can be attained without animal-based food.
  • The closer the food is to its native state -- with minimal heating, salting and processing -- the greater will be the benefit.

Criticisms

Life expectancy in China is lower than that of the United States (63.2 compared to 67.6 in WHO statistics, although American statistics show the latter as 77.6). This is also influenced by many other factors. It is important to acknowledge that this study focuses on the relative, not absolute mortality of some diseases and not on overall longevity or disease incidence.

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