If you want to see an alarming case study on the impact of the modern western lifestyle, take a look at China, where experts are blaming a new diet high in sugar and carbohydrates for spiralling obesity levels.
After centuries of eating a traditional diet of high in unprocessed plant based foods, with small amount of meat and fish, China is rapidly switching its food preference to fizzy drinks, burgers and pizza.
What is the impact of the western diet?
Well, in 1985 less than 1 in 100 children in China were classed as obese, but now the country has an obesity explosion with about 1 in 10 girls and 1 in 5 boys classed as obese, according to a report published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology said.
Professor Joep Perk, from the European Society of Cardiology has described it as “the worst explosion of childhood and adolescent obesity that I have ever seen”
“China is set for an escalation of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and the popularity of the western lifestyle will cost lives.”
The study spanned 29 years and investigated 28,000 rural school children aged 7-18 in the eastern province of Shandong.
Poor families rarely ate out in the 1980s, considering restaurants an indulgent treat.
But rising wages, even in poor communities, together with an influx of fast food outlets like McDonalds and KFC have resulted in increased popularity for fast food.
Lives has also become more sedentary, with many rural children spending an increasing amount of time playing video games.
It’s not just in rural areas…
“More and more urban Chinese are white collar workers who wake, commute, sit at a desk, commute, watch TV, sleep,” Paul French, author of Fat China: How Expanding Waistline Will Change a Nation, told the Telegraph.
Back in 2013, I wrote a blog comparing the documentaries Super Size Me and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, asking the question of how much difference does a month make to our health?
In Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock’s 30 days of eating McDonalds had a significant negative impact on his health, gaining 24.5 pounds, turning his liver to fat and doubling his risk of coronary heart disease. He also became exhausted and depressed.
By comparison, after 30 days of consuming nothing but freshly extracted juice, in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Phil Staples had shed 61 pounds, reduced his high blood pressure into the normal range and was able to lower the medication he was taking for urticaria.
30 days of fast food or 30 days on juice only may both seem to be extreme examples, but there is no getting away from it, what you eat has a direct impact on your health.
How can we combat childhood obesity?
One place I believe we can start is by teaching our children about REAL food, making meals from scratch using basic ingredients.
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