Childhood obesity is on the rise in China
In what is undoubtedly a trend here in Beijing as well, childhood obesity in Shanghai is now higher than world averages, the Shanghai Daily reports, and is approaching the level of famously fat places like the United States and other western nations.
Shanghai Jiaotong University surveyed over 10,000 primary school students in the Shanghai area and found 13.3% were overweight, while 6.5% were classified as obese. What’s even more shocking is the rate at which the obesity epidemic is rising … 24.4% over the last decade alone.
There’s nothing new in the analysis of why: rising incomes and the increased availability of junk food has lead to an increased intake of calories and not enough exercise to burn it off.
Add to that the intense academic focus of Chinese schools (which typically means less physical education and lots of after-school homework) and the ‘little emperor’ syndrome where 2 parents and up to 4 grandparents dote on a single descendant — and it’s no surprise little waistlines are growing.
But with the economy continuing to trend upwards and no letup on the academic pressure children face, what’s the next decade going to look like for China’s children?