The Foodwise Effects of the West in Asia

Obesity in China I just came back from a trip to Hong Kong & Tokyo and noticed two things that surprised me as an Asian American. Aside from the massively crowded subways and kinky maid cafes in Tokyo, I mean.

The teenagers there are TALL! Not necessarily Yao Ming tall, but you could put together a good all-Asian NBA team there. Before embarking on this trip, some friends had told me I’d be towering above the people in Hong Kong; that was not the case at all. Well, I did tower over the elderly. But I could see up the noses of lots of teenagers too.

Also, the people there are SKINNY. Not mal-nuriously Kate-Moss skinny, but thin. Part it it could have been their wardrobe. Form-fitting clothes are fashionable there, as opposed to the baggy clothes you’ll find in the US. But despite this observation, many Asians believe that obesity is becoming a problem. According to Ramen Goel, a member of the Obesity Surgery Society of India:

One in three children, the child is overweight. That means 30 percent of the children is overweight. That’s a dangerous trend because it’s almost at par with what you have in the USA.

Similar reports have come in from other parts of Asia as well. Anti-obesity surgery is apparently a rising trend. Why is that?

“Food portions are increasing in Tokyo,” a friend told me. “They’re not as large as the portions in America yet, but they’re getting that way.”

Height, weight, even breast sizes are all increasing in Asia due to changes in their diets. This comes as a result of rising affluence, less active lifestyles (from farm workers to office workers), increasing food portions, and a wider range of foods to choose from – like fast food, a Western establishment.

I actually lost weight while in Hong Kong & Tokyo because of the relatively smaller food portions. But they’ll catch up with US portions soon enough. And with a McDonalds (or Mos Burger or Freshness Burger) on every corner, well, it’s easy to see the foodwise effects of the West in Asia. All those stereotypes of Asians being short will fade away in a generation or two.

(Though I wonder how they’ll continue to fit into their tiny cars.)

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About Mike

I'm an idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student. And what, you want to Internet-stalk me too? Why, sure.
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