Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Bloated Asia

I'm really pleased to have come across this today as it stimulates some of my own thinking and saves me boring you with too many words ( OK Andrew?). A little background for my motivation on this subject is that each time I walk past local schools, as the children are piling out, I'm noticing that the number of fat kids is rocketing and in some instances constitutes the majority of the students.

Obesity is a problem now, and it only took one generation to make the jump. 

The leap between skinny and irreversibly fat kids took only a few short years in Asia. I've noticed it from Beijing to Manila but here in Thailand it feels particularly poignant as I remember a time when 7-Eleven had hardly any dairy products and people didn't know what cheese really was. These days if I want to re-conjure up the elegance of a thin and beatiful race from the early nineties I need to head out into rural Thailand closer to the villages and the paddy fields, where I'm magically sent back to that bygone era. One where rice is the staple diet and a few morsels of meat with lots of vegetables keeps them looking so fabulous.

As an adman I find this troubling and yet another hurdle (on top of sustainable wealth creation) to reconcile doing good work with good intentions.

Paul French who I've long admired as a thoughtful China commentator is interviewed here by another China afficianado Jeremy Goldkorn about his new book Fat China. They both dissect the issue in a manor which is contextually interesting even if you're not in Asia but interested in adding dimensionality to what's going on with expanding waistlines of the Occidental races: Europe, U.S and Australia. 

The most compelling point for me if you can't spare 10 minutes to watch is that, we advertisers idealise children as chubby when selling to Mom children's food and drinks, and  yet when they turn to 'Pepsi' teens we suddenly try to sell them the Heroin-teen-chic matchstick-thin lifestyles when biologically the toothpaste is out of the tube if one is serious about reversing the obesity process

This is morally wrong and a point I hadn't thought of before; one I'll never let slip by again.