America’s Gift to China – the Curse of the Middle Class Bulge

The Atom Stack Tribune reports McDonalds is facing stiff competition in China. Today, McDonalds has more than 2100 outlets in 450 cities and towns across China.

KFC has three times as many stores serving artery clogging fried chicken, while Coca Cola reported a 26% increase in sales in China of its sodas making up for reduced sales in the US.

At the end of 2010, Starbucks reported more than 750 Starbucks locations in Greater China.

Pizza Hut food is expensive in China when compared to Chinese restaurants, which explains why Pizza Hut focuses on China’s middle class.  Pizza Hut started doing business in China in 1987. Today it operates 3,000 restaurants in 650 cities and towns.

What has been the result of all this American fast food in China?

In 1979, less than one percent of China’s population was diagnosed as diabetic. Since that time, the increase of diabetes has paralleled China’s development along with the growth of American fast food outlets in China.

A recently published study reported that the proportion of diabetics in China was nearly equal to the United States, which is almost nine percent of the adult population.

In addition, the growth of reported cases in China is growing at about 1.5 million annually on average.

The increase in diabetes in China is due to increasing obesity, lack of exercise and to poor eating habits.

Dr. Liu Hongfang of Dongzhimen Hospital in Beijing says the situation is only going to get worse as living standards improve and more people can afford to eat high-fat foods more often.

As a result, the number of diabetics will keep increasing.

The World Health Organization estimated that in the period lasting from 2006 to 2015, China would lose 558 billion dollars in national income due to heart disease, stroke and diabetes combined.

Thanks to government reforms in health care in 2009, more than 1.2 billion people now have some form of basic medical insurance. However, this health coverage is often minimal and diabetes costs more than the health care covers.

Discover China’s Health Care Today


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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