A new study says that obesity levels in China are rising fast, with more than a quarter of the adult population obese or overweight. As people add more dairy products and meat to their diet, serious health problems can develop. According to the study, published in the July/August issue of the journal Health Affairs, compared with other developing countries, only in Mexico is the rate of increase in becoming overweight among adults faster than in China.
Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, the condition in China should be seen as a marker for what is going to hit the rest of the developing world if we fail to act. Moreover, he said, we need to find the right regulations and investments to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, or we risk facing higher rates of disease, death, and disability and the related costs.
Nowadays, Chinese people derive a far larger proportion of energy from fat and animal-based foods, such as meat and eggs, compared with in the past. The classical Chinese diet that rich in carbohydrates and vegetables with minimal animal-sourced food was no longer exists. Moreover, in 2006, less than one percent of all Chinese adults consumed a diet with less than 10 percent of energy derived from fat.
The study said that the change in lifestyles and diets, where Chinese less frequently have to engage in physical activity at work, is consequently leading to a rise in coronary heart and cancer disease. Moreover, based on conservative assumptions, the total impact of these nutrition-related components of poor diet, obesity, and inactivity on medical costs to treat no communicable diseases, national production and labor productivity are very large.
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