The Copy-Cat Dietary Revolution

September 7, 2011

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

March 3, 2011

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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

Copy Cat Chinese Middle Class

June 16, 2010

The Chinese are getting fat off McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and having more heart attacks and diabetes just like Americans.

I believe in going green and weaning the world off oil and that has nothing to do with global warming.  It has to do with the pollutants that turned Los Angele’s air purple and caused asthma levels among kids to leap. If you want to find out how toxic carbon emissions are, park in a garage, close the door and sit there for twelve hours with the engine running. 

When I go to a movie theater, I walk and when I drive, I use a hybrid that averages about 40 mpg. I sneer at SUVs and there are many where we live—mostly driven by small, pot-bellied men and blonde-haired, white women wearing dark glasses.

I read in The Truth About Cars that SUV sales have climbed 90% in China, and the Wall Street Journal reports that China’s government has extended subsidies for trading-in old polluting vehicles for hybrids and all electrics to the end of the year.  If China is the totalitarian dictatorship critics in the West claim it to be, why can’t China rid itself of SUVs?

See China Going Green


Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning My Splendid Concubine and writes The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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