I’d say Chinese people are much healthier than Americans in many ways…diet, for example. Obesity does not run rampant in China as it does in America. In fact, minus the big bellies I see on the older men who roll their shirts up after a good meal and waddle down the streets rubbing their stomach, I don’t really run into any “overweight” people here. Maybe it’s the whole “finish your plate” mentality that America has. It’s easier to evade that mentality here because most meals are eaten in a communal style. You order several dishes that sit in the middle of the table and you serve yourself from those…more of a potluck, I suppose. When you have to serve yourself each bite, you realize exactly how much you’re eating…and you have to share it, so you can’t consume the entire dish by yourself.
There isn’t exactly the same concept of working out either. Chinese people don’t “hit the gym” to lift weights or run. But with such healthy foods available (dessert tends to be either watermelon or little pastries filled with red bean, snacking isn’t as common, and high fructose corn syrup doesn’t exist), the lack of this form of exercise isn’t disastrous. Plus, with so much walking done each day, they still find their cardio. If I had a pedometer on me the past few days, I can’t even imagine what number it would read… if it was even still working after all the steps I’ve taken.
But they do get exercise, just in a more natural way than lifting a heavy weight over and over again. Just yesterday, I played a pick-up game of soccer with some Chinese college students. They were very athletic, much more skilled than I was, but here’s where we got ourselves a cultural difference…..
After a good hour and a half of playing in the hot heat, we all took a break for some water…and cigarettes?! They all plopped themselves down on the ground, smoked a few cigs, and were ready for more! Talk about your refreshing water break. Flick the cigarette butt away, and run back onto the field to play so more soccer. Sadly, the Chinese smokers still managed to kick my butt, regardless of their lung condition.