Affluenza

February 12th, 2014 atam Posted in Food, General | 1 Comment »

Something’s changed about this Chinese New Year. Instead of wishing each other wealth and prosperity, most people are wishing each other good health and happiness.

It may be that the traditional “Kung Hei Fat Choy” is now considered old-fashioned. However, if the preferred greeting reflects a change of values, then it’s good news indeed and can’t come at a better time.

If research from a Canadian university is anything to go by, then wealth only brings trouble and disease. According to the research from Simon Fraser University, obesity and type 2 diabetes are spreading in developing countries as people become more and more well-off. As they watch more TV, drive more cars and play with computers more often, they exercise less and less. Worse still, western fast food is considered a kind of aspirational food. It may be full of fat and sugar, but eating it marks one out as someone with considerable disposable income.

The researchers do not find the same increase in rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in developed countries. Before you cheer, note the reason: it’s because the current rates are already high.

Developed countries consider Cuba a basket case, but we’ve got much to learn from it, quite apart from the wonderful Latin jazz. When the Cuban economy collapsed after the country’s main patron, the Soviet Union, disintegrated in the 1990s, its citizens were forced to grow their own food, walk more and eat less, particularly meat products. The result: they became healthier. But when their economy recovered? So did the rates of various diseases.

There’s a call for another increase in tobacco tax, but you know what’s funny? Those who succumb to smoking-related diseases tend not to hang around as long as those who are afflicted with obesity-related ailments. In other words, the latter impose a much higher cost on the medical system. If a government is wise, it’d do something about that and not just cigarettes. The British government’s been mulling a junk food tax and Mexico has gone ahead with it. Well, Mexico has to do something: the country with the highest per capita coca cola consumption in the world is also the fattest in the world.

So, do we really want good health?


One Response to “Affluenza”

  1. > Instead of wishing each other wealth and prosperity, most people are wishing each other good health and happiness.
    >
    > It may be that the traditional “Kung Hei Fat Choy” is now considered old-fashioned. However, if the preferred greeting reflects a change of values, then it’s good news indeed and can’t come at a better time.

    Ever since I learned what “Kung Hei Fat Choi” means, about three years ago I consistently refused to say it to anybody, preferring to say “San Lin Fai Lok” and “San Tai Kin Hong”.

    As a result, I am willing accept all credit for the change you are observing. You are welcome.

    😛

    > The British government’s been mulling a junk food tax and Mexico has gone ahead with it.

    France also implemented a tax on soft drinks a couple of years ago, but I haven’t found yet any study showing whether it had been beneficial or not.

    I doubt it can have any negative impact though. 🙂

    (Coca Cola replied to this tax by publishing a wonderful piece of double-think on their website, explaining how such a tax was hurting customers, showing a brilliant mastery of Newspeak)

Leave a Reply