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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
Will sports solve China’s obesity problems?
    2017-July-4  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Joseph Lotfy

Writerjoe99@hotmail.com

TWO weeks ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping met FIFA president Gianna Infantino at the Great Hall in Beijing. This meeting didn’t attract much media attention, but the effects were incremental. Xi wants the game to be accessible for 30 million primary and secondary school by 2020 according to a recent Shenzhen Daily article. Besides both of them being huge soccer fans, they know that soccer can bring many opportunities for China and people down the road like: group and team building activities, more cardio exercise, friendly competition between friends and most importantly the joy of the sport. Western countries are known to be active in sports, and allow after-school sports such as, basketball, volleyball, American football, tennis, track and field, cross country running, wrestling, weightlifting and swimming. Xi’s goal is to make China an international country and make it feel “cozy and warm” for the Chinese people and foreigners. Yet, foreign countries have a lot of sports in their own countries to keep kids active and healthy, but why hasn’t the obesity rate gone down? Will extra sports activities make China a healthier place to live in the future? We have yet to see the full effect on society.

Obesity is truly a crisis for China and for the rest of the world, and it needs to be solved with long-term realistic solutions so the livelihood of people can be improved. There is no clear-cut solution to this problem. Coincidently, I remembered what the former American president, John F. Kennedy, once said that “when written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ ( 危机) is composed of two characters — one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” What he is saying is there is something very difficult for us at this moment, but on the other side of the door there are a lot of opportunities for us to grow and change.

According to a World Health Organization article, “currently more than 1 billion adults are overweight … obesity levels range from below 5 percent in China and certain African countries.” The article goes on to also talk about the increased levels in childhood obesity —“an estimated 17.6 million children under 5 are believed to be overweight worldwide.” There is a crisis at hand and it needs to be dealt with immediately. In my opinion, this is a lose-lose situation, because we’re educating our children for their careers, but that could be wiped out if they face a health issue later on in life. Of course, losing weight is not an easy process and takes time before you see any results from your hard work. Especially considering the high-paced lifestyle common nowadays, and with time being so precious, we often choose to eat fast food, which will only exacerbate the problem. If we give up as a society, then we will never see the opportunities that are rightfully ours.

The health and fitness industry in China has increased rapidly due to increases in disposable income and greater attention being paid to health. The industry is expected to be worth US$5 billion this year with an annual growth of 14 percent. It’s quite astonishing to see the disproportion of the health industry versus the obesity level. There are some famous people who are using their “popular status” to motivate people to get into healthier shape.

Take for example, the Christian pastor of Saddleback Church in California, Rick Warren. He addressed the fact that he was overweight with his church. He has the ability to influence the masses, and they joined him in the race to become a “fitter church” so to speak. Instead of following other diet plans like “The Jenny Craig Diet,” he created his own diet plan with famous doctors to show that the plan wasn’t randomly created and was safe and sound. He created “The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life.”

What are the results of his diet plan? According to a 2013 CBS news article, “in the first year, more than 15,000 church members lost more than 250,000 pounds (around 114,000 kg).” I’m happy to see someone who is not afraid to conquer this treacherous mountain to help people lose weight. Pastor Warren could have turned a blind eye to his weight issue and his congregation, instead he chose to make a weight-loss program beneficial for him and church members. His program wasn’t only for his church members though, but for others around the world as well. It seems Pastor Warren followed JFK’s advice — there are opportunities after a crisis.

If we don’t try to help obese people, then they are facing a life full of potential issues like: diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic musculoskeletal problems and skin problems according to a WHO article. If you know somebody that is obese and is headed down the wrong path, offer your time, effort and emotional support to help that person in anyway so that person can live a fulfilled life, and they’ll be grateful for your good deed.

(The author is a businessman and freelance writer from America.)

 

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