Dr. Terry T.-K. Huang, professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy recently published a commentary on obesity and overweight in China. The work is in Obesity.
[Photo: Dr. Terry T.-K. Huang]
The obesity epidemic is worsening worldwide and poses a serious threat to public health in developed and developing countries. According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of obesity in China is the second worst in the world after the United States.
This means there are more than 40 million Chinese adults who suffer from obesity and another 250 million from overweight. Among individuals less than 20 years, 23 percent of boys and 14 percent of girls suffer from overweight or obesity.
Little is known about prevention and treatment strategies in China. It is unclear whether weight loss achieved by culturally adapted strategies will be sustainable.
China’s historical one-child policy has created a skewed sex ratio. Unlike other developing countries the actual number of males who suffer from obesity and overweight suggests a much greater burden among males in China.
The author concludes there is an urgent need for more practice- and community-based research to address the growing epidemic of obesity in fast-developing countries such as China. Much greater international collaboration and collective national action are needed to research, implement and disseminate programs and policies that address the multiple determinants of obesity.