The Copy-Cat Dietary Revolution

Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan reported from Beijing February 14, 2011, and said, “We are looking at one of the most amazing achievements in the history of mankind. In just one generation, China has managed to lift 500 million people out of poverty and many in China now have more than enough to eat.”

The reason for this is revealed by the CIA World Factbook, which says only 2.5% of Chinese live below the poverty line with a 7.8% illiteracy rate compared to India’s 25.0% living below poverty and 39% illiteracy rate.

However, since there is so much to eat in China, Chan says, “the one child policy encourages doting parents to stuff their children with all the things (meaning too much food) they were denied.”

This has resulted in an explosion of urban fat.

To make her point, Chan compared meat consumption in the U.S. with China revealing that China consumes almost twice as much meat as America. However, Chan points out, there are four times as many Chinese as there are Americans.

What lesson can the Chinese learn from the United States when it comes to eating too much meat and fast food?

According to the CDC, this consumption has resulted in one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) being obese while about 17% or 12.5 million children ages 2 to 19 are obese, and according to US-China Today, more than 74% of US adults age 15 and older are classified as overweight.

The difference between overweight and obesity is determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI).

BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat. An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. Source: CDC Defining Obesity

With an overweight percentage of 38% and rising, mainland China is home to a staggering 380 million-plus people with weight problems, and studies show that weight issues are becoming increasingly prevalent among urban youth (920 million Chinese are not overweight). Source: US-China Today (University of Southern California)

The US, on the other hand, has about 231 million Americans that are overweight leaving 81 million that are not.

This love of meat and fast food in the US and China has resulted in 11.1% of the US population to suffer with the lifestyle disease of diabetes while only 9.7% of China’s population suffers with it.

For a better idea of middle-class prosperity, meat and fast food, consider that in 1992, the rate of diabetes in China was only 2.5% (diabetes has increased in China almost 400% in 18 years) and the first KFC opened in China twenty-four years ago in 1987.

Today, KFC operates 3,200 fast food restaurants in China, while Pizza Hut has 510, McDonalds 850, and Starbucks 450.

Discover The Challenge of Rural Health Care in America and China


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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3 Responses to The Copy-Cat Dietary Revolution

  1. the _truth says:

    Chan is wrong. Pork is the only meat that the Chinese consume more of. The US still consumes more beef, veal and chicken.

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