Fat kids in Thailand

I talked before about the eating habits of Thai people (see Thai People and Meals). I mentioned that they seemed to snack all day and still remain quite slender. However, this is not saying that there are no obese people in Thailand. Far from it. There are quite a few very chubby students at my school. I would go and take a picture of them now but my Western sense of decency would forbid it. However, if I asked one of my Thai computer teachers to take a picture, they would go and do it. Not only that, they would also tell the student and everyone within hearing distance exactly why I needed the picture! (see picture above)

To Thai people there is nothing wrong about this. After all, some people have nicknames from birth until adulthood that mean “fatty” or “piggy”. If you are fat then they will tell you without any malice. In fact, I had quite a few teachers last year point at me and say “fat” and “big big” and gestured with their hands which parts. (I had put on quite a bit of weight over the last year or so and the teachers were only too happy to point this out to me.)

I do believe that the reason why some people can snack all day and not get fat and others do is a lot to do with their diet. Many of the children today are snacking on Western junk food. Take a look at the canteen in our school for starters. Everything is deep fried. Then there is the toast which is covered in sugar and cream. I think that if the Thai people stick to Thai food only, then they would stay thin.

Newspapers are now reporting that 14% of Thai children are obese. They are mainly blaming Western fast food, like McDonalds. However, they also note that the new generation spends too much time watching t.v. and playing video games. They are not going out to play as much as they did in the past. I think all of these are contributing factors. At our school they are now trying to promote a healthy lifestyle by having a big aerobics session every Friday after assembly. What they probably need to do next is sort out the snack shop menu.

As I mentioned before, last year I became overweight and so I decided I should do something about it. I was getting too many jibes from the other teachers about it. I will tell you tomorrow which diet I went on and how I managed to lose 15 kilos in less than three months.

INTERESTING FACTS: According to the Kasikorn Research Centre, the country’s quick-service restaurant industry is now worth about 12 billion baht a year. Of the total, chicken menus account for about 6.2 billion baht, 2.9 billion for burgers and another 2.9 billion baht for pizza. A survey in 2004 by market researcher ACNielsen showed that KFC was the leader in the chicken market with a 72% share, followed by McDonald’s with 15% and Chester’s Grill at 11%. In the burger market, however, McDonald’s is the leader with a 72% share, followed by KFC with 24% and the rest shared among other brands.

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