The traditional Chinese diet and Chinese way of eating is why, despite a population of 1.3 billion, China does not have a major obesity problem. This author has lived in China since 2000 and sees very few obese people.
Clear, Bland Food
Traditionally, Chinese people eat what is called a clear, bland diet,
consisting primarily of cooked vegetables, rice, noodles, fruits and relatively
small amounts of meat. Unlike the typical Western method of basing main meals on
meat, in China the traditional way is to base meals on veges and rice or
noodles, accompanied by small amounts of meat. Garlic, ginger and chilli are
used not just to enhance flavor but also as important digestive aids.
Future Diet-Related Health Problems
Despite the relative lack of obesity in China today, the author predicts
obesity will, however, become a major health problem in China, particularly in
urban areas. The main reasons? Western fast food restaurants like McDonald's,
KFC and Pizza Hut and 24-hour convenience stores like 7 Eleven are everywhere
and are hugely popular, particularly with young Chinese. Chinese newspapers are
also reporting increasing incidences of other diet-related problems like
diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.
Also, Chinese people are buying cars at a phenomenal rate (800-1000 new cars
reportedly hit the streets of China's major cities every day), meaning more
people are getting less exercise in their daily life. Fast food plus an
increasingly sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity and a host of other modern day