Youngsters Becoming More Fitness-Conscious

HPA-China Commentary: yet another example of how wellness and being fit has been sweeping across China, which was already heavily influenced by ancient traditions of keeping healthy. The concept and motivation of health is also driving the sales of dietary supplements in the market. Cross border e-commerce sales and traditional brick and mortar sales have consistently been in the double digit growth rates hovering around 25-20% respectively.

For centuries, the concept of yangsheng — a Taoist and traditional Chinese approach to self-care and maintaining good health — has mainly been popular among retirees and the elderly.

But in recent years, yangsheng, literally meaning nurturing health in Chinese, has gained popularity among young adults as they become more inclined to spend on their well-being and health services and products.

A survey on consumer habits jointly released by China Central Television, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Post last year shows that among people age 18 to 35, spending on health and longevity items ranked in the third place, after spending on tourism and electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones.

Ling Jian, an accountant in Linyi, Shandong province, said she began practicing baduanjin, a low-impact traditional Chinese exercise comprising eight movements, about a year ago to unwind and relieve stress after work.

“I am not an athletic person and am intimated by the competitive vibe in gyms, so doing baduanjin at home or in a park near my home suits me best,” said the 32-year-old.

A mild form of exercise, Ling said that it takes persistence and patience to feel its benefits.

“More importantly, I think baduanjin serves as a gateway for me to learn more about traditional wisdom in preserving health, and I am also paying more attention to a diet with low salt and low oil,” she said.

Another report on the consumption of nutrition and health supplements shows that urban residents spent 1,000 yuan ($140) annually per capita on these items, and nearly 84 percent of consumers making these purchases fall into the age range of 18 to 35.

The report, published in 2022 by several healthcare enterprises and Xinhua News Agency, also showed that a large number of young adults were not satisfied with the nutritional status of their bodies, and they bought vitamins, minerals and supplements for improving immunity and sleep quality.

However, more than half the survey participants also admitted that they tend to give up on healthy diets and lifestyles easily, and over 60 percent said they felt like money spent on nutritional products was wasted eventually.

Zhang Boli, a traditional Chinese medicine specialist and a deputy to the National People’s Congress, the top legislature, said during this year’s two sessions — the largest annual political event in China — that an increasing number of Chinese people are experiencing symptoms of cardiovascular diseases in their early 40s.

However, he said that taking health supplements is not a one-size-fits-all cure to offset the harmful effects resulting from unhealthy lifestyles.

“Many young people can recalibrate their health to a better state simply by adopting a lighter diet and eating more fruits and vegetables,” he said. “It’s also important to rest sufficiently, avoid sleeping late or drinking too much alcohol, coffee or tea.”

Zhong Can, head of the outpatient department at the Red Cross Hospital in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, said during an interview with China Youth Daily that headache, neck stiffness, dizziness and insomnia are common complaints among young adult patients.

“In one case, a 30-something male patient who sat in front of the computer screen for hours in the daytime and continued to play computer games or stare at his mobile phone at home visited me for discomfort in his neck,” she said.

Instead of prescribing him any medical therapies, Zhong said that she persuaded him to cut time spent on electronic devices and asked his family members to supervise him. The patient’s condition was soon alleviated without any medical interventions, she said. (Source:

Sign Up to Receive China Updates Weekly Newsletter for FREE, HERE

Visit HPA-China’s Information Hub, HERE