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Chinese longevity and obesity



Paul Simon replies to the question about the highest university in the world: "The highest universities in the world may be in Tibet; I know of at least one that is at 12,000 feet". Which one? I have just read a lot about Tibet, and even under Lhasa there was no mention of a university. Almost all the material was about mountaineering, geology and tourist sites. The question is rather nugatory; there are thousands of "universities", many of which are little more than a name.

Paul replies mostly to the question about Chinese obesity and longevity: "Chinese longevity-- It's not bad at all-71--without a vast gender gap. There are many downside factors: one being a VERY unhealthy diet- high glycemic (and worsening). [I guess that refers to liver, kidneys, brains,etc., which Margaret Mackenzie said are high in cholesterol and bad for the health.RH]. Another is a high rate of smoking. There are also many conditions of environmental degradation, poor health care (also worsening in rural areas), incredibly high rates of TB, diabetes, hepatitis, schistosomiasis and other parasitic diseases, and a growing HIV infection rate.

Countervailing factors include: A LOT of exercise; only a small percentage of the population owns cars. Most folks walk or bicycle. Many dance or practice Tai Qi Gong (Tai Chi) or martial arts. Many folk work at hard labor. Green tea is also a phenomenally potent anti-oxidant and the Chinese diet is full of thermogenic herbs, especially hot pepper, ginger, and garlic. Tofu is also very valuable as one ages, especially for women. Tofu provides the body with a natural estrogen derivative.

Chinese fat? Not really--they may be a bit plumper now and then than they were in the famine years of the past but you can stand on a busy sidewalk here for a long time before you'd see anyone that a responsible physician would put on a diet. Even that person would be unlikely to be extremely fat.

Of course, McDonalds, KFC, etc are spreading here, so maybe spreading waistlines are next. If that happens, at least I won't stand out so much. As Rodney Dangerfield says in "Back to School", "if ya wanna look thinner, hang around other fat people".

Ronald Hilton - 1/18/02


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