‘Globesity’ – Lessons From China

Whilst figures for obesity and being overweight in India and China may not be on the same scale as the western ‘developed’ countries, we cannot afford to wait, but must declare war on this unnecessary tragedy right now.

This is an interesting article about what’s happening in China, and why. It contains some interesting lessons for India.

PBS Article on Rising Chinese Obesity

We should not get too hung up on overall statistics. The fact is that every case represents a potential personal tragedy, a life left inadequately lived, debilitated by a reduced physical ability to live a full and active life.

The responses have to be twofold;
a) Help with effective recovery programmes for those already impacted,
b) Prevention programmes targeting children in schools and parents.

The help for parents and families has to start right from birth and infancy. Unfortunately, there are traditional perceptions that sit very uncomfortably in the world our children are growing up in now. It might have been right in the past for grandmother to believe that a baby should look ‘plump’ to be healthy, to lavish copious amounts of ghee etc. to fatten the child up.

As children get older we need strategies to prevent them eating for the sake of it. In their hyper-stimulated states combined with media’s rampant uncontrolled advertising directed at children, many are growing up believing that eating is an effective pastime for eliminating boredom and are provoked to seek out the foods with the highest sugar and salt content.

School food and diet are things i have written about earlier in this blog.

What’s also in desperate need is a big increase in facilities and space for children’s physical exercise, play and activity. We also need strategies and approaches both inside and outside schools that cause the children to grow up seeing physical exercise and fitness as fundamental parts of everyday life.

I believe this requires some de-emphasis on sport, especially sport as something to be taken up with a view to eventual career, riches etc. I fear that this is causing too many children to opt out of physical exercise if they figure that competitively they are not going to reach ‘the top’.

Finally, as a part of the ‘prevention’ agenda I would love to see government standing up effectively to the food industry lobby with effective controls on foods, labeling and advertising to reduce the devious exploitation of children’s vulnerability.

When the writing is on the wall a society has a duty to act, not to sit like the scared rabbit caught in the headlamps.

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One Response

  1. definitely agree – the obesity growth curve is steep and a result of changing cultural and socio-economic norms. The fast paced change in China that everyone is so amazed and proud of, is also what is leading to the obesity issue.

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