The life expectancy of China's 1.3 billion people is on the rise, thanks partly to increased spending on health care, state media said Monday.
China's average life expectancy rose from 71.4 years in 2000 to 73 in 2005, Xinhua news agency said, citing a report issued by the Ministry of Health.
Other health indicators have also shown marked improvement in recent years, including the infant mortality rate, which fell from 25.5 per 1,000 babies in 2003 to 15.3 per 1,000 last year, the report said.
China's maternal mortality rate fell from 51.3 per 100,000 births in 2003 to 36.6 per 100,000 in 2007, it added.
The report attributed the improved health indicators to increases in government spending on the health system.
The data was released as the government vowed to extend universal health coverage to all Chinese citizens by 2020, Xinhua said in separate report.
As of September last year, about 730 million farmers had joined the rural cooperative medical system, which began in 2003.
Under the system, farmers pay 10 yuan (1.37 dollars) a year for basic health care, while the government contributes 40 yuan per person to the fund.
China also has several urban medical care programmes in 79 pilot cities, which will be expanded this year, Xinhua said.