In China, two extremes co-exist: the pursuit of skinniness and the rise of obesity. Despite a culture that rewards thinness, statistics reveal the country is battling an obesity problem that affects both children and adults.
A documentary followed the different ways citizens are tackling the issue head-on. For kids struggling with weight issues, expensive and isolating fitness camps have sprouted. The trainers are former military, so the exercise sessions are extreme and continue for hours a day.
The children eat limited quantities of food, and they’re only allowed to use their phone for one hour every night—not to play games but to call their parents.
They are pushed to lose tens of kilograms in just a few weeks.
Furthermore, it’s become trendy to lose a lot of weight. Reality TV shows like The Biggest Loser are turning ordinary people into celebrities overnight. The winners go on to guest in other programs, inspiring viewers with their story. However, the potential dangers from their extreme diet and exercise are never mentioned.
For those who want to go back to basics, they are turning to traditional medicine for solutions. The traditional medicine is believed to help the recipient feel more satiated, thus curbing their desire to eat.
Unfortunately, instead of losing weight, the interviewee ultimately gained a few pounds and decided not to return for another session.
By far, the most drastic measure is weight loss surgery. People choose this for a quick fix to a long-term problem. However, without a change in eating habits, many end up gaining the weight back and suffering psychologically.
Amidst the efforts to address obesity, there is also a growing movement among plus size women to accept the way they are. This movement highlights the importance of promoting body positivity in response to China’s obesity problem.
Watch the full documentary below.