An internet cafe in Duchang county, Jiangxi province, Sept. 29, 2011. (File photo/Xinhua)
An online survey has projected that almost 39.8% of male internet users in China and 38.7% of female users are obese. Almost half of the remaining internet users surveyed have persistently gained weight over the past five years, reports the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily.
China's National Health and Family Planning Commission carried out the online survey through health care website 39 Health, 11 major webportals and 117 online media outlets. Around 10,657 Chinese internet users aged 18 and over filled out the survey's questionnaires that gather information on their weight and what they do to control it. Around 71.9% were women and over half were aged between 18 to 29.
The survey's BMI system is slightly different from the Western standard. It defines obesity as a person's Body Mass Index (BMI) being 28 or above, as opposed to the standard 30, overweight as a BMI between 24-27.9, in contrast to the standard of 25-30, a healthy BMI index in the survey was classed as between 18.5-23.9 and underweight as below 18.5.
The results suggest 39.8% of the male internet users surveyed are obese. Around 50.9% of them said their weight has been increasing over the past five years. The obesity rate among female netizens is 38.7%, with 49.3% of them admitting that they have been gaining weight over the same period. More than half of both male and female survey participants said their confidence had been significantly affected by their weight.
The weight Chinese put on over the past decade is almost equivalent to the weight westerners gained over the past 30 years, said experts. Shanghai Jiao Tong University researchers showed China's growth rate in those found to be overweight and obese has become the world's second fastest. By 2015, around 50-57% of Chinese population could be overweight, said the WHO.
Obesity can lead to multiple chronic diseases, as well as metabolic syndrome and can affect respiratory and bone-related organs. Obesity has also been found to be related to prostate and breast cancers. Over 300,000 people around the world died, directly or indirectly, of obesity-linked diseases.
Sedentary lifestyles and overindulgence at mealtimes are common among obsese and overweight people, said Li Nai, deputy chief physician of endocrinology at Peking Union Medical College Hospital. Around 43.3% of overweight people said they eat too much at mealtimes and 50.9% eat too fast, along with 56.6% of them who do very little exercise. Around 57.3% of them admitted to being proverbial couch potatoes. Around 30.8% said they eat fast food at least three times a week.
Li Nai 李乃