Is Health Research the answer to China’s Population Problem?

Posted on 24 February 2020

China is getting old. As a result of the infamous one-child policy, the birth rate between 1980-2015 declined dramatically. Combine this with the fact that humans are now living longer than we ever have before, the proportion of China’s population 65 years and above is predicted to triple from 2006 to 2050. This spells out bad news for China’s working demographic and economy as a whole.

A report in Nature tells the story of Jing-Dong Han, a computational biologist who, for the past 15 years, has been trying to convince her colleagues in China that researching the science of aging was a priority.

In recent years she has had some success. From 2008 to 2018, the number of research papers on health in aging has tripled, and the field has benefitted from a number of grants provided by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

Even if you can’t provide startling results right now or immediately describe how it will be applied, ageing-related research needs to be done urgently in the social context of China

Jing-Dong Han. Source: Nature 578, S1-S3 (2020)


  1. How health research will support China’s ageing population. Nature 578, S1-S3 (2020). DOI: 10.1038/d41586-020-00279-y
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