Prior to China’s economic rise, obesity amongst young teens was never a serious problem. Modern lifestyle has heavily influenced the more traditional plant-based Chinese diets.
The rise of obesity in China
According to a recent survey published in 2020 by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, over 10% of children under six were obese or overweight and 19% of those aged between six and seventeen were in the same categories.
The entrance of Western-style fast-food restaurants and the ease of dining out has changed people’s dining habits. Indeed, the increased consumption of meat, refined grains, highly processed sugar, and fatty foods has adapted people’s tastes and diets.
It is predicted that the aforementioned figures for overweight children are almost two to three times more than those observed in the early 1990s.
Whilst China’s economic development is remarkable, it has also facilitated the production and marketing of foods that are generally low in nutrition. It is predicted that the aforementioned figures for overweight children are almost two to three times more than those observed in the early 1990s.
Furthermore, although the overall nutrition of the Chinese public has increased significantly, many children are troubled by weight problems. Obesity is a potentially serious health issue that if not dealt with, can result in long-term conditions and even certain types of cancer.
What has driven this?
Apart from China’s fast economic development which has driven the consequent change in consumption habits in the younger age groups, this compounded with lack of exercise and indulgent grandparents are equally important factors.
Up until recent years, Chinese parents had deprioritised physical activities in favour of pushing their children towards academic performance. Together with schools not having proper gym teachers and a preference amongst children to stay indoors and play video games, exercise levels have noticeably decreased.
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