Now, it turns out that we’re also exporting our lifestyle woes: China is experiencing a staggering increase in the national obesity rate, especially among children.
According to new research reported by BBC News, more than 25 percent of adults in China are now considered overweight or obese. And the news is getting worse.
A national symposium has determined that one in five Chinese children is overweight. The causes? An increasingly Westernized diet, overindulgent parents, and lack of exercise. Most of those changes started coming about twenty years ago, when economic reforms were introduced. The changes led to a gradual straying away from the traditional Chinese diet of simple rice, vegetables and protein. Now, KFCs can be found everywhere; McDonald’s is in the process of infiltrating urban Chinese neighborhoods. And—gack!—even Starbucks has started a caffeine invasion, opening 66 stores in Beijing alone.
Ah, yes—how did the Chinese ever live without access to a Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino Blended Crème on every corner? At 680 calories a cup when loaded up with whipped cream, it’s a real girth buster.
In the wake of the western invasion by KFC, McDonald’s and Starbucks, has come news of the next logical franchise to take root in China: Weight Watchers. Last spring, Weight Watchers International announced it had signed an agreement to open a weight management business in China. The program will use the Weight Watchers' program for weight loss, which includes weekly meetings and weigh-ins.
With a population of 1,330,044,605 in that country, there’s plenty of room for market expansion and growth. So to speak.