According to the report, 50.7% of Chinese adults are overweight, including those who are obese. In a country of 1.4 billion, that amounts to more than half a billion people — more than the entire US population.
“Our country’s residents face a severe problem of overweight and obesity. The overweight and obesity rates among residents in both urban and rural areas and across all age groups are steadily rising,” Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The days of food shortages are long over. Now, Chinese people are free to eat largely as they choose, and the country’s new wealth has brought ever more nutritious and calorie-rich food to the dining table.
“The overweight and obesity rates in China have been climbing fast, with a high prevalence and affecting all groups in the population. This brings enormous challenges,” said Zhao Wenhua, chief nutritionist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the United States, 71.6% of adults were classified as overweight, including obese, between 2015 and 2016, according to the CDC.