I remember one night when we ate in a Shanghai restaurant and at the next table, this overweight kid, maybe ten, said in a shrill voice, “I hate vegetables. Where’s the meat. I demand more meat.” Then he pounded the table with both fists while his face screwed up in a rage. His mother had an embarrassed look on her face but she didn’t say a word.
The Opium Wars in the 19th century that forced China to open its doors to foreign drug dealers (English, French, American, etc.) and Christian missionaries was nothing compared to the recent obesity invasion. In 2005, it was predicted that 200 million Chinese would be obese within 10 years.
McDonalds has more than 1,100 locations in China.
KFC has more than 2,900 in over 400 cities.
Pizza Hut has about 500.
Starbucks over a 1,000.
China’s bulging middle class has fallen in love with the Western fast food diet and couch potato lifestyle. Those hit worst with the expanding waistline are the pampered single-child generation. More than 11% are reportedly overweight and the number of obese children is rising at the rate of 8% a year. Much of the new fat is in wealthy urban centers such as Shanghai—where the obesity rate among primary school children hit 15.2% last year, according to the state media.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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