Obesity has become a major problem in China, a country marred by a history of famine and poverty, tells author Paul French to the Washington Post. Part of China still suffers from hunger, while developed parts struggle with overweight.
Given how impoverished the country was not long ago and how impoverished parts of it still are, “having a problem where people are eating too much — it can seem a little churlish to complain about that,” says Paul French, the Shanghai-based author of “Fat China: How Expanding Waistlines are Changing a Nation.” French and co-author Matthew Crabbe found that even as recently as five years ago, obesity wasn’t recognized as a problem by health professionals in China.
The Chinese Health Ministry has said it encourages healthful eating programs in schools and the construction of more playgrounds to promote exercise. And the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention makes vague references to “health promotion” and providing “scientific guidance for healthy diets,” but nationwide campaigns about eating healthfully and exercising are not evident.
In fact, pushing the population to lose weight, exercise and cut back on unhealthful foods seems to strike a discordant note to some inside the government, French says. “When I talked to government officials, their argument was: Right now we’re trying to tell them to do and not do a lot of things,” such as not spitting on the street, not dropping trash everywhere and not driving “like complete idiots.”
“They know they can only tell people to do some things… before they get fed up.”
- Will China become a consumers’ paradise? – Paul French (chinaherald.net)
- ‘Dragon lady’ tale stops ambitious women – Paul French (chinaspeakersbureau.info)
- Beijing Badlands and their characters – Paul French (chinaspeakersbureau.info)
- The high pressure on China’s single children – Paul French (chinaspeakersbureau.info)