HANGZHOU — Many Chinese people greet each other with "Have you eaten yet?" to show their friendliness. Recently, a new greeting has emerged in many Chinese cities: "Have you lost weight?"
Chen Xin, a mid-level manager of a media company in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, has surprised his friends after getting slimmer.
"Following instructions from my nutritionist, I went on a diet and lost 10 kilograms," Chen said with a satisfied smile.
In recent years, food-delivery services have been growing quickly and entering every corner of Chinese cities. In addition, Chinese people can easily get access to foods from all over the world. But people are paying more and more attention to their health.
On food-delivery platforms, food labeled "low calorie" and "light food," including whole wheat bread and coarse grain products, are becoming popular.
More people are becoming familiar with various terms, such as "sugar cutoff" and "low-calorie Fast Diet plan."
"I used to eat a lot of unhealthy food, which brought me much trouble. My blood lipids, uric acid, and other indicators used to be far higher than normal levels," Chen said.
"Now my health indicators are becoming normal, and I can feel that my body is in good condition again."
Chen is not alone. Many Chinese are troubled with "diseases of affluence," including obesity and hypertension, as the quality of life for most has greatly improved over the past decades. Most people no longer need to worry if they have enough food, but rather if they have a healthy diet.
According to statistics from global market research firm Euromonitor International, the global meal replacement market reached $66.1 billion in 2017, of which the Chinese market contributed 57.1 billion yuan ($8.45 billion). The Chinese market is expected to reach 120 billion yuan in 2022.
Despite healthier diets, many people believe that it is not enough to only control your food intake to lose weight. Exercise is also of vital importance.
Jiang Yichen, a consultant at a foreign consulting firm in Beijing, trains in a gym if he finishes work early.
"Doing sports provides me with energy, and dopamine gives me a lot of pleasure after I sweat," Jiang said.
Like Jiang, many people are fond of sports, and some even take fitness equipment home.
Products such as scales to measure body fat, massage guns and treadmills are among the bestselling products on e-commerce platforms.
Over the past two years, online purchases of fitness equipment have increased significantly, particularly among women who attach great importance to body management, according to 2019 statistics from e-commerce platform Tmall.
In China's major cities, holding marathons has also become fashionable. According to the China Marathon Annual Report, released by the China Athletics Association, 1,828 marathons were held nationwide in 2019, covering 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, with 7.12 million participants.
Health is an important manifestation of a country's soft power, and the improvement of overall health conditions can have a positive impact on economic development, said Wang Hufeng, a professor at the School of Public Administration of Renmin University of China.
"China will succeed in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects this year, with health becoming a huge industry," said Li Hua, deputy director of the Zhejiang Provincial Sports Bureau.
"Health is a major issue of concern for the Chinese people. It is also an important part of the public's sense of fulfillment, happiness and security," Wang said.
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