Tag Archives: American obesity

Back from China

Back from China after an fascinating few weeks there. A few points. Then back to the science in future posts.

#1 Chinese food — don’t judge it by what you find in America. It’s great and non-greasy. The Chinese eat tons of it and remain quite thin — about which more later. It is remarkably INexpensive. Remember that fortune cookies and General Tso’s chicken are American inventions.

#2 Naturally after a great meal (ordered in Chinese by our daughter – in – law) in a restaurant over there, I thank the waitress and the cashier. This invariably makes them uncomfortable. Our son explained that to the Chinese this oversteps a boundary, using as an analogy a professor discussing his personal life (marriage etc. etc.) with a student. Strange but true.

#3 After two + weeks in Hong Kong (and Manila) the prevalence of obesity in the states is simply staggering. I think that under 10% of American adults are trim (at least the groups seen on the MassPike and the Motel). Even the trim by American standards could well lose 10 – 20 pounds. All is not perfect over there, as far more Chinese smoke than we do.

#4 If you are male and 6 feet tall, or female and 5′ 7″ prepare to feel like a giraffe (particularly in Manila). It is quite an experience to be on the excellent Hong Kong subway system (10 cars with an average of 50 people per car) and see over everyone’s head.

#5 If you are a woman who has let your hair go gray, prepare to stand out. By and large 50% of the white haired women I saw in Hong Kong, require wheelchairs or canes. My wife took to counting them — the highest she came up with on a given day was under 10.

#6 If you are a male over 60 and think you’re in good shape, prepare to have your ego diminished, as younger people on the subway get up to offer you their seat — particularly galling when some sweet young thing does it.

#7 Take all this with a grain of salt. Hong Kong is not China, and people living there talk about ‘mainlanders’ the way many Americans talked about blacks 60 years ago.