If you could build a time machine and go back in time -- not far, say 50 years or so -- and you told the first person you saw that in the future, man would walk on the moon, we'd all carry video telephones the size of a deck of cards, and that poor people would be fat, I guarantee you the response would be:
"Wow! Really? Poor people are fat?"
Because, of course, poor people are supposed to be skinny. They're poor. You don't see anyone in those old Dust Bowl photographs with a double chin or a muffin top, right?
It's a sign of the general prosperity of our nation -- the price of a constantly rising standard of living -- that poverty no longer means hunger. On the contrary, it often means Type 2 diabetes and obesity-related heart disease.
And now, rising economic powerhouse China grapples with a new problem: they're getting fatter. And it's starts with the kids. From the Shanghai Daily:
About 13.3 percent of local children are overweight and 6.5 percent are obese, according to a newly released survey.
The obesity rate among local schoolchildren has grown by 24.4 percent in the past decade and is close to that found in Western countries, experts said.
And they're experiencing the same poverty/obesity correlation:
Children from downtown areas are fatter than those in the suburbs, children from low and middle-income families are more obese than those from high income ones and male students are plumper than female students, the survey found.
I'm inclined to think this is a generally positive development. A richer, more consumer-oriented society produces fatter people. And what do those fatter consumers want? American fast food. From Bloomberg:
In China, KFC has achieved such dominance over McDonald’s and local rivals that Colonel Harland Sanders’s image is a far more common sight in many Chinese cities than that of Mao. That accomplishment is striking in a country where foreign companies often stumbled and ran into roadblocks in the past.
Maybe this is how we contain the Chinese Menace. We just make them fat and sleepy.