Obesity rises in China

Obesity rises in China

With an increasingly prevalent market, a fast-growing economy, rising incomes and rapid urbanisation, China has become more and more modernised in the past decades, but this modernisation has come at a price - obesity issues. While the Chinese population has doubled its life span with a developed public health program, now Chinese people are suffer from diseases that are more common in wealthier nations which are not caused by malnutrition as in starvation but by overconsumption of unhealthy foods and lack of exercise.

While the US keeps topping obesity charts worldwide, China is not falling far behind as Chinese children follow the same unhealthy American habits - junk food, sodas and couch potatoes lifestyles. China has entered the era of obesity. The speed of growth is shocking, stated a leading child-health researcher, Ji Chengye.

Indeed, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), obesity is a major health concern. While overall rates of obesity are below 5 percent in the country, in some cities these rates are higher than 20 percent.

Obesity in the Asian country is mostly prevalent in urbanised cities where fast food culture has been embraced by the society and globalisation has taken over, in contrast with poorer rural areas.

As the McDonalisation of the global society becomes more clear and China becomes more modernised, rising incomes, rapid urbanisation and cities dotted with fast food establishments - such as McDonald's (MCD), Pizza Hut (YUM), and KFC (YUM) - growing obesity among Chinese children is becoming a relevant problem in the country. Even an expert at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Chen Chunming, has warned against the rapid growth of American fast-food outlets in China. He advises: Don't take children to eat fast food like McDonald's and KFC.

In fact, more than half of Chinese children eat unhealthy food - including overly sweet and salt snacks as well as fried meals - every day, according to a survey of 10,000 students in 24 schools in six Chinese cities. Meanwhile, a quarter of primary school pupils and 16 percent of middle schoolers sip sugary beverages on a daily basis.

The kids' unhealthy eating habits are accompanied by a lack of exercise. According to the survey, about two-thirds of the students get less than an hour of exercise a day. Then, when it comes to exercising outdoors on the weekends, only 40 percent of primary pupils and one-fifth of middle school students engage in these kind of activities.

Moreover, thanks to a rapid motorisation, people are walking and cycling much more less than before. According to reports in 2002 and 2012, there is a correlation between ownership of motorised transport by households in China and higher obesity related problems in children as well as adults.

According to a recent report by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, China is undergoing a fast rise in childhood obesity. In fact twenty-three percent of Chinese males younger than 20 are overweight or obese, while 14 perfect of their female counterparts suffer from the same condition. In contrast, back in 1990, the corresponding rate for Chinese male and female rate was less than 10 percent.

China's current rates are still below those in the U.S. (almost 30 percent for young males and females), they are above than those in Japan, South Korea and India.

According to the authorities, specifically Wang Longde, the Chinese vice health minister, the problem is that the population lacks awareness of the problem and knowledge in terms of what constitutes a healthy diet.

Therefore, as a response, the government aims at reducing the problem by building more playgrounds and making it mandatory for students to exercise or play sports for an hour at school.

Ai Wei Wei

Ai Wei Wei

As a Chinese contemporary artist who is active in all sorts of artistic creations such as sculpture, architecture, photography and curating, Ai Wei Wei's latest installation in Toronto remains one of his greatest yet. Themed Forever Bicycles, he has installed 3,144 bicycles that seem to be floating in Toronto Square. With its sheer amount of bicycles, onlookers are in for a wondrous moment as they look at the geometrically homogenous design that Ai Wei Wei has created.

Ai Wei Wei's early life has been heavily documented and is an interesting tie to the artist that he is now. His father, Ai Qing was a Chinese Poet who was denounced during Mao Zedong's rule. The entire family was sent to a labor camp when Ai Wei Wei was barely one – they continued to live there until he turned sixteen. After Mao Zedong's death, the family returned to Beijing in 1976 whereby Ai Wei Wei began to actively pursue art in his academic career. Having lived in New York for about 12 years, he worked odd jobs to support himself while constantly taking photographs of streets in the big city; they are now known as the New York Photographs.

Today, Ai Wei Wei is a successful artist with many of his exhibitions featured globally. Although he has been arrested by Chinese authorities over his political activism, Ai Wei Wei remains a staunch artists who believes that through creating, awareness can be made which in effect provokes change. His art is sensational in 21st century art world and it is not surprising, just look at Forever Bicycles and you will understand why.



As a global city, Shanghai has approximately 23 million residents. Literally named above the sea, this city is an important apex of China. Historically, it started off as a fishing and textile town. She begins to gain the reputation of being a financial center after opening up to Western powers circa 1842. Today, Shanghai remains one of the most fascinating city in China as she holds myriad characters and facets.

The Bund is a must-go for any traveller in Shanghai. Known as the museums of buildings, this street houses historical buildings which once symbolized the powerhouse of Europe. Situated along the Huangpu river, one is able to see the HSBC building, a neo-classical building which is perceived to be the highlight of the Bund. One can also see the Pudong skyline from across the Huang Pu River. With the impressive buildings lining side by side, the skyline of this city at night is impressive and has been intensively photographed.

As one walks further down, you will come into Huang Pu and the Old City. Despite being a mega city, Shanghai is still best explored on foot; while ambling into the Old City, do stop by Yuyuan Garden, a traditional Chinese-Ming styled garden. Its famous tea house and zigzag bridge can be visited. It is here where one is able to take a breath of fresh air. In Huang Pu area, one can either choose to take a river cruise or start a stroll from People's Square. Passing by Nanjing Road Pedestrian street where stationery shops and bookshops are located, be prepared to come face to face with one of the largest bookstore in Shanghai.

There is a lot of activities going on the street level there it is advisable to take one's time to observe the way the locals carry out their daily routine. It is surprising to note how similar this city is to many other mega cities in the world.

Places To Go in China

Places To Go in China

Places To Go in China

While planning a trip to China, one can take into account these three beautiful places that will take anyone's breath away.

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Situated on the north of Sichuan over the edge of the Tibetan plateau, this place is known for its multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snowcapped peaks. As the film location for many movies and Chinese dramas, this valley has become a popular tourist destination over the years. After taking look at the pictures, one would understand the appeal of such scenic lakes that have gathered numerous local legends.


Setting out from Kashgar, the westernmost city in China, one would have to traverse one of the world's most dangerous road, Karakoram Highway to get to the glacier sea lake which is surrounded by mountains. Four hours of being on the treacherous road has not stopped globetrotters from visiting Lake Karakul.

While in Xinjiang, do take a detour to the Nalati Grassland – a meadow so distinctive that the name Nalati(place where the sun emerges in Mongolian)was given by Genghis Khan when he laid eyes on it.

Guilin Located in northeast of Guangxi, this prefecture-level city has much to offer. With its tourist spots such as Longsheng Rice Terrace, Yangshou, Li River and numerous ancient towns, Guilin is among one of the top destination spots in China. With its extraordinary Karst mountains, travelers would definitely get their breath taken away when faced with the scenic topography that has inspired poets and artists over the centuries as well.