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

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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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Deadly Fat Profits

July 24, 2010

CNNMoney.com reports in China: The new fast food nation, that Yum Brand, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has seen its profits in China jump 33% in the second quarter.… In fact, American fast food is very popular in China.  Yum opens one new KFC every day in China with nearly 3,000 and a long-term goal to have 20,000 fast-food outlets in Chinese cities.

Keeping pace with fast food consumption is the increase in obesity, diabetes and cancer rates in China.  Bullfax.com reports that the growing popularity of Western junk food is fueling a diabetes boom across Asia. In fact, China is facing a diabetes epidemic and 92 million Chinese men and women have diabetes and almost 150 million more are close to having it.

CBS News reports that China’s soaring cancer rates appear to be keeping pace with the increase in urban Chinese eating Western fast food. When Deng Xiaoping said, “Getting rich is glorious,” did he mean that business people should become parasites causing this to happen?

See The Challenge of Rural Health Care in America and China

________________________

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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Where are the Parents – Part 3/4

April 14, 2010

Obesity and diabetes among American children is an epidemic. Many children and teens are not eating nutritious, home cooked meals. Instead, they are surviving off Coke, Pepsi, French fries and fast food. I often had kids come into my class after lunch with sixty-four ounce Cokes. Their speech would be slurred; their eyes glazed. Research shows that too much sugar messes with long-term memory and the area of the brain that solves problems.

Teen drug abuse

Many American kids cannot find the family they need at home, so they find one on the streets. In Los Angeles, there are one-hundred-thousand kids that belong to street gangs. Other major cities also have street gangs. Street gangs become the family of choice when parents are not there or not talking. Drug use among teens is also a problem leading to depression and low self-esteem. This may result in decreased interest, negative attitude, drop in grades, many absences, truancy, and discipline problems.

When we pick our daughter up from school, we see the ratty dressed kids on their skateboards hanging out by the graffiti covered walls in the mall parking lot. Our daughter says many of the kids she knows at her high school get drunk regularly and smoke.

Continued in Where are the Parents – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. 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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An Invasion of Fat

March 18, 2010

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.

Read Doing Business in 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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Attitudes Toward Health in China

February 28, 2010

The focus in China is on prevention—meaning to plan your lifestyle around healthy habits. That’s why early in the morning you may find many older Chinese outside exercising using the graceful, poetic movements of Tai Chi to insure health and longevity.  

Meanwhile, behavior shows the old attitudes toward preventative health eroding. More than three hundred million Chinese smoke American cigarettes and obesity is a growing epidemic in China as it is in the United States.

Shanghai McDonald's

How could obesity not be a problem since the Chinese are having a love affair with American fast food? China loves most things American. McDonalds and Domino’s Pizza are considered gourmet restaurants and can easily be found in China’s cities.

Learn about Doing Business in China

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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.