146. Geriatric Medicine in China

  1. Alan J. Sinclair2,3,
  2. Dr John E. Morley4 and
  3. Professor Bruno Vellas5
  1. Leung-Wing Chu

Published Online: 12 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119952930.ch146

Pathy's Principles and Practice of Geriatric Medicine, Volume 1 & 2, Fifth Edition

Pathy's Principles and Practice of Geriatric Medicine, Volume 1 & 2, Fifth Edition

How to Cite

Chu, L.-W. (2012) Geriatric Medicine in China, in Pathy's Principles and Practice of Geriatric Medicine, Volume 1 & 2, Fifth Edition (eds A. J. Sinclair, J. E. Morley and B. Vellas), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119952930.ch146

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Postgraduate Medical School, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK

  2. 3

    Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP), Luton, UK

  3. 4

    Saint Louis University School of Medicine and St Louis Veterans' Affairs Medical Center, St Louis, MO, USA

  4. 5

    Gérontopôle, Toulouse University Hospital and INSERM Unit 558, University of Toulouse III, Toulouse, France

Author Information

  1. Sau Po Centre on Ageing, University of Hong Kong and Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 12 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 13 APR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470683934

Online ISBN: 9781119952930



  • China;
  • Hong Kong;
  • aging;
  • geriatric medicine;
  • long term care


The purpose of this chapter is to update the development of geriatric medicine in China. The population of China is aging. The proportion of elderly population aged 60 years and over is now over 10 % in mainland China. Declining birth and mortality rates are the underlying reasons for the recent population aging phenomenon in China, which is accentuated by China's one-child policy. In the 2005 population survey, the elderly population aged 65 years and over was already over 100 million. The rates of population aging also differ between urban coastal cities and rural inner villages in the country. In urban areas (e.g. Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong SAR), the proportions of elderly population are greater than those in the rural areas. While the Western countries have become both “old” and “rich”, China has become “old” before getting “rich”. The development of clinical services in geriatric medicine is much needed but has not begun in most part of China except the Hong Kong SAR. To save cost, basic community primary health care services have now been set up in many urban and rural areas of mainland China. However, the effectiveness of this model has not been evaluated in any research study. Health-care financing reforms (i.e. new Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme) have been implemented since 2003, which improves the problem of inadequate access and coverage of health care in rural areas. In contrast to the lack of development in clinical geriatrics service, research in biological mechanisms of aging, anti-aging remedies and age-related diseases like dementia and osteoporosis has been actively pursued in mainland China as well as in the Hong Kong SAR. Geriatric medicine educational programs in basic medical education, post-graduate clinical training and graduate programs are very inadequate in China except the Hong Kong SAR. To cope with the need of the aging population, there is a definite and pressing need to develop clinical geriatrics service and geriatric medicine.