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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

January 15, 2006

Written by C.N.

Western Culture Brings Obesity

The New York Times has an interesting article about Asian Americans — particularly recent immigrants — who, upon arrival into the U.S., are quickly assimilating into a particular unhealthy trend — eating too much junk food and putting themselves at greater risk for obesity and diabetes:

Asians, especially those from Far Eastern nations like China, Korea and Japan, are acutely susceptible to Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease and the subject of this series. They develop it at far lower weights than people of other races, studies show; at any weight, they are 60 percent more likely to get the disease than whites.

And that peril is compounded by recent immigrants’ sudden collision with American culture. Many of them left places where factory and field work was strenuous, televisions were rare and advertising was limited. They may speak little English and have poor access to medical care. . . .

Many recent Chinese immigrants have come from places where food was scarce, and experts say some view fat as a trophy of wealth and status. Their children try to fit into their new country by embracing its foods and its sedentary pastimes.

Alas, the march of American capitalism and its consumerist culture continues unabated. It is especially interesting — and rather discouraging — to see a healthy lifestyle that’s been predominant for thousands of years get abandoned and destroyed within a matter of minutes as Asian immigrants come to the U.S., or as more American fast food companies set up business in Asian countries.

Clearly, this is one aspect of American society that should not be incorporated into Asian culture. It will be really sad if this trend becomes part of the assimilation process for Asian immigrants — come to the U.S., learn English, get a good job, buy a house, get fat, and develop diabetes.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Western Culture Brings Obesity" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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