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Overseas Health Insurance News: Blog helps expats avoid air pollution in Beijing

An expatriate doctor, who has set up a blog into healthy living in Beijing, is providing a useful resource for people living in the city.

Dr Richard Saint Cyr set up the My Health Beijing site when he moved to China with his wife Joanna Wang.

Everything from information on infant formula and where to get children vaccinated to nuclear plant radiation from Japan is covered, but the most viewed topic is air pollution.

The air quality index that is used by the US embassy suggests that anything over 500 is hazardous to people's health.

This year has been particularly bad for air pollution in Beijing with some readings on the scale reaching as high as 900.

Dr Saint Cyr told the South China Morning Post: "Where I was working in Sonoma, California, it usually registered as five."When it reached 900 in Beijing, it was extraordinarily dangerous, a public health emergency. I was telling people not to go outside.

"I started the website and blog aimed at expatriates coming here; everyone is always nervous as to whether the air is as bad as they have heard."

Now many local Chinese people also use the blog as they have found the information on it useful to them too.

As well as air pollution, food safety is high on the list of issues that expats in Beijing are concerned about.

The food preparation standards are not as high as in the west, but unhealthy elements of western eating practices are entering into the culture. This means that incidences of stroke and heart disease are on the increase.

Dr Saint Cyr's site aims to provide answers to questions that arise out of living in Beijing as well as general information on the healthcare options available.

The blogosphere has become a particularly useful resource for people moving abroad in recent years. It allows new expats to benefit from the knowledge gained by those who have been in situ for much longer.

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