Globalization of Obesity…Outsourcing Fat
So we’ve outsourced jobs and sent them to India and China and now it looks as though we’ve outsourced obesity too. As a personal trainer in Bangkok I’ve seen the epidemic first hand. As Western people arrive on the shores of foreign lands, so does our foods and customs. We bring the lifestyle and the food and the local people, with a fierce desire to be like their Western counterparts literally eat it up.
Personal training is a tough profession these days as we are simply small fish swimming in a pool of large multi-billion dollar marketing machines. Our resources and ability to combat the overwhelming slew of advertising are minimal, yet we fight on. In the three years that I’ve been living in Bangkok, I’ve seen the addition of Krispy Kreme®, Cinnabon® and Cold Stone Creamery®. That’s in addition to the long time mainstays like, KFC®, McDonalds®, Burger King®, A&W, Dairy Queen®, Swensons®, Baskin & Robins®, and many more. This makes the job of a fitness coach a thousand times more difficult.
The lifestyle change has been the biggest thing that has impacted obesity in the Asia-Pacific region of the world. From the fields to the offices as developing countries go through rapid stages of growth, fast food companies and companies that provide quick pre-packaged meals have pounced on the opportunity to take advantage of the situation.
The troubling fact is that most of the countries in Asia are well behind the curve when it comes to fitness training and nutrition coaching. Fitness training is growing in Asia with more and more professionals becoming certified and more people taking action, however in most schools physical activity is absent and the idea of physical activity and strength training for women in particular is not widely viewed as feminine.
With physical activity absent the obesity epidemic is poised to skyrocket over the next few years. More and more small children on the street are overweight and increasing amounts of kids are consuming less food at home and more packaged junk food on the streets. Coupled with the usage of MSG and increasing use of sugar in Bangkok, there is a brewing recipe for what one author called “Diabesity”.
So what are we to do when we line up with our slingshots like David against this modern-day Goliath? Well, my belief is that we must arm ourselves with as many tools as we can. Many personal trainers simply target exercise, but we must get information about diet and nutrition out to the masses. We must align ourselves with progressive medical and health care professionals to provide complete health programs. We must reach the youth as the next generation is our only chance to turn this pandemic around. We must join together as coaches and provide networks of resources and education and then, only then we may have a chance to win this battle of the bulge.