China’s Big Problem: The Rise of Obesity

Victim of a terrible famine in the early 1960s that killed nearly 20 million people, China is now facing a new scourge: obesity. 100 million Chinese people are overweight. Although it is a disease particularly prevalent among adolescents, affecting 20% of boys and 10% of girls, even babies are being born at more than six kilos. A phenomenon never before seen in the country’s history.

Expansion and economic growth have changed the lifestyles of Chinese people, who are now consuming more and more Western-style food. Traditional Chinese food, which is generally quite healthy, has been replaced by “junk food” and the portions have doubled or even tripled. The overconsumption of fat and sugar coupled with sedentary lifestyles and the one-child policy have caused rates of obesity to skyrocket. The Chinese authorities are tackling this epidemic with former prison camps for overweight people run by soldiers. Television shows, smartphone applications, doctors and nutritionists are encouraging the entire nation to get into shape.

In this documentary, we visit China to explain why obesity rates are rising, and how weight loss has become a national issue. How has China progressed from a starving country at the beginning of the 21st century to having one of the highest obesity rates in the world?


  • Year: 2019
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: Nova Prod
  • Director: Gwenlaouen Le Gouil
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France


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