China’s Child Obesity Epidemic

By Sam Schenerman

China has broken another world record! This time, it’s with the most obese children. A new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows alarming results. It turns out the PRC is home to more than 15 million obese kids.

Obesity Has Grown Out of Proportion

A 10-month-old baby boy in China (Photo STR/AFP/Getty Images)

There are various causes attributed to this drastic increase in obesity. One is societal. During China’s Great Famine, obesity was seen as a sign of wealth. Now, it’s just another sign of China’s Great Leap Forward towards great power status! Another factor in the prevalence of obesity among kids is the food they eat. As fast food chains flood into China, obesity increases. For instance, one child ate nothing but fast food for 3 straight months. Is it any surprise then that he was diagnosed with diabetes?

Another factor in obesity is changing lifestyles. Many Chinese are no longer good socialist farmers. They’re good socialist urban workers. They’re good communist students. They gain weight because they are sedentary and not exercising in the fields and half-starving like their parents did a generation ago. 

Health Risks

Obesity can lead to a whole host of diseases. Edward Gregg, an expert on diabetes for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wrote about some of the risks:

An early onset of obesity is likely to translate into a high ­cumulative incidence of type 2 ­diabetes, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease.

So even though these toddering toddlers may look cute, their medical bills aren’t. Their health prospects are actually quite frightening.

Fixing the Problem

China has set up weight-loss camps as one measure to help kids who are critically overweight. These children are forced to swim, lift weights, run, and perform other various exercises every day. Strict Chinese instructors keep the kids on task. Many camps are even run like military installations. Not only are these Chinese kids losing weight, they’re also gaining valuable communist indoctrination! These kids are achieving liberation from their obesity through army style drills.

Another solution is changing lifestyle habits. China could introduce various after school programs for kids and encourage biking and exercise. However, the CCP has been reluctant to do so. I guess they have other priorities, like making sure Tibet is the happiest place on Earth.

Overweight Chinese students stretch after swimming during training at a camp held for overweight children on July 15, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)


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