Obesity time bomb keeps ticking

Updated: 2016-05-20 08:20

By Wang Xiaodong(China Daily Europe)

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 Obesity time bomb keeps ticking

Children exercise at a summer camp for overweight minors in Qingdao, Shandong province, in July. [Photos by He Yi / China Daily]

Improved living standards and increasingly sedentary lifestyles mean China has the most fat people in the world - and the problem is just beginning

In November, when Bao Xin's weight soared to 120 kilograms, he decided to take steps. "That time my life was seriously disturbed by being so overweight. I couldn't even hold my 1-year-old baby for more than five minutes because I would be soaked in sweat," says the 34-year-old IT worker in Beijing.

According to China's National Health and Family Planning Commission, adults with a body mass index between 24 and 27.9 are classified as overweight, while those with a BMI of 28 or higher are classified as obese. Given his weight and height - 1.78 meters - Bao's was 38.

A person's BMI is an important factor in the risk of contracting many illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Bao eventually went on to lose 30 kg over four months by adhering to a strict diet and exercise plan, which was monitored by professional medics.

Experts say the number of obese people in China - already the largest in the world - is expected to continue to rise and pose an increased health risk, given the improved living standards and the prevalence of modern sedentary lifestyles.

"An obesity crisis is likely to happen in China in the next 20 years, and it is already being felt in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai," says Chen Wei, a nutritionist at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital and deputy director of the Chinese Nutrition Society's clinical nutrition department. "The rising level of obesity is closely linked with the rise in a range of chronic diseases in China in recent years."

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