Weight Watchers in China

picture of dim sum in a Taipei market

how many points are the dim sums?

I am bemused by this article (“Weight Watchers adapts points systems to China as it seeks growth, CEO says”) I came across regarding the expansion of Weight Watchers into China.  First, the difference two decades can make is incredible – no one in China (including my 5 year-old self) could possibly have imagined the feast that was to follow the famine and poverty of the early 20th Century, such that there is an obesity “problem” in China now.  The days where my parents were more than happy to get a scrap of pork fat seems unreal compared to the indulgent consumption (and waste) that takes place today in modern China.  A culture based on ordering more than one can eat as to not lose face is apparently taking its toll.  So much that Weight Watchers has to step in.  I am more amazed by the fact that they have adapted their points system to accommodate for Chinese food.  A weight loss project carried out in the UK with a similar slimming agency absolutely refused to adapt their material to accommodate for foods commonly eaten by South Asians, as it was just not seen as profitable.   I think it would be most clever for Weight Watchers to promote these adapted materials in major North American cities, like Toronto or San Francisco, for their large Chinese populations who may or may not have been living high on the hog since migration.  I have contacted Weight Watchers for an interview, as I would love to speak to them and their researchers on how they went about adapting this material (as this is the focus of my current project).  So far, no word.  Maybe if I eat a little bit more they will be more responsive.

2 Comments

Filed under China, food, Health, obesity, weight, Weight Watchers

2 Responses to Weight Watchers in China

  1. That’s really interesting. I didn’t realize obesity was in issue in China – as a little kid (before I met you) I went to a private school with a large Chinese population and I remember one of the parents telling my mom (who was a teacher at the school) that their kids “got fat becuase of Canadian McDonalds” and saying they were skinny until they moved here…I guess times have changed!

    • Thanks for visiting, and yes, indeed, times have changed! There’s McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut in China now, but it’s not even the Western fast food that’s contributing to increased consumption, there’s also more Chinese fast food, in large portions, snacks being sold everywhere, etc. It’s delicious, but dangerous.

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