Nutrition needs to become a central policy consideration in China’s broader food security strategy. China’s working population (15 – 60 years old) is set to recede out to 2050 while its elderly population (over 60 years old) is expected to become the largest group in the country by the same date. A smaller working-age population is likely to lead to labour shortages, which is why the government must ensure its population has food rich in protein, iron, vitamins and zinc to safeguard maximum productivity. Stronger nutritional efforts need to be made in rural China, particularly with children. These provinces will prove a valuable source of migrant labour and, if nutritional deficiencies are not addressed, they will present an economic burden on health services out to 2050.