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China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study Project Initiation Conference


China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study Project held a kick-off meeting at Beijing GuangXi Hotel on March 23rd, 2011. Li Guanglindirector of Chronic Diseases and Nutrition Division, Ministry of Health, Professor Yang Gonghuan, director of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shi Xiaoming, deputy director of Division of Chronic Diseases Control and Community Health, Professor Ho-Mou Wu the executive vice dean of the National School of Development, Professor ZhaoYaohui, the deputy director of the China Center for Economic Research and other directors in CDCs from 28 provinces, CHARLS project team and China CDC experts and workers totaling 76 people attended the meeting. Mr. Shi Xiaoming hosted the ceremony.

Professor Yang said in the opening ceremony, CHARLS project was a multidisciplinary research jointly carried out by China CDC and Peking university, with special attention to the national aging population, a series of problems in health, economic and social security and etc., and it was worthy of taking long-term tracking. China’s “The Twelfth Five-year Planning” and healthcare reform had paid great attention to the establishment of the social security system and improvement of life quality for the elderly. Under such circumstances, in-depth understanding of the relationships between elderly health, social security and economic status is helpful to the development and evaluation of the government policies. CHARLS aims to provide a high-quality data to support the goal. In addition, CHARLS program will help to enhance the CDC system's ability to monitor chronic diseases and analyze policies. Professor Yang expected local CDCs to organize and implement the project carefully, with improved efficiency and comprehensive analysis capacity at the same time.

Professor Wu said CHARLS project aimed to collect a set of high quality data. National School of Development focuses on long-term national development, and a good data source is necessary to realize the act. Peking university officials also pay high attention and support to the project. He pointed out that the project was of great value in at least two aspects: (1) Policy value. Social security lies as the core of China’ current national policy. With the development of society, the government’s policy is increasingly people-oriented. People's well-being has always been the focal point. This study includes health and social security information in every aspect, offering valuable references for the social security system. (2) Academic value. The study received funding from various organizations, and formulated an important part of world health and retirement study. Professor Wu also pointed out that the fundamental works are the roots, and everyone should make great efforts to lay down a solid basis for the project.

Director Li pointed out that chronic disease had become increasingly detrimental to Chinese society, as China has over 100 million elderly people. He utilized detailed data to present the heavy burden of disease prevalence on aging people and its impact on the country economic development. Encouraging more health and pension researches will further perfect China's old-age security policy, so that most Chinese elderly people have old-age support. Such researches fit the goal of "the twelfth five-year planning ", and are very timely under current situations. Director Li also said the cooperation of CDC and Peking University would utilize the advantages of disease control system, and further develop their ability in the country's chronic disease prevention and control.

According to the conference schedule, our team members introduced the background of CHARLS project, implementation scheme, work process, major survey methodologies, field staff recruitment system, mapping process and system, questionnaires, physical examination, blood test, quality control and current working plan and requirements. The participants had thorough discussion with the project team.

Finally, deputy director Shi Xiaoming, Professor ZhaoYaohui summarized the conference. They thanked everyone’s active participation in Beijing, hoping them to continue their hard efforts complete CHARLS baseline survey and collect a set of really high-quality data to extend the horizon for China’s health and retirement research, making contribution to the present medical reform and the national development during " the Twelfth Five-year Planning".