The excesses of World Health Day

By Rosanne Lin, Shanghai Star. 2002-04-11

I observed the passing of World Health Day with an order of fried spicy beef noodles, a few pints of beer, a bag of potato chips and the DVD, "The Nutty Professor". All and all, seeing the perpetually fit American actor Eddie Murphy wrapped in rolls of synthetic fat made me feel much better about the 10 kilos bursting at my seams. I accomplished a significant goal for World Health Day - I felt healthier.

Needless to say, I am a very confused person.

What exactly defines a healthy appearance? What exactly defines a healthy lifestyle?

If I am to believe my Chinese friends, my health is so poor, I am in danger of dropping dead at any minute. On the other hand, recalling past strolls through places like New York's JFK Airport, and Las Vegas's Caesar Palace, I feel downright slim. Defining a healthy glow is obviously not a simple process.

To add to my perplexities, while watching CCTV-9, I heard a government official proclaim that although in recent years China's urban population has had trouble maintaining a healthy lifestyle, things were now improving.

Wow! China the first country to get richer without getting fatter.

I don't believe it.

Why just the other day, a government official friend of mine pointed to his developing spread saying that it was typical of his profession. I guess this is an occupational hazard for him - too many free lunches.

But still the CCTV-9 report raised an important point, for most urban dwellers the information age has become the sedentary age. We spend our lives seated in front of either computer screens or plates of oily calories we can never work off.

Although, I have long surrendered to my cubicle captivity, certainly, you can still try to overcome the side effects of this inert lifestyle. One need only look to find the voluminous advice offered on countless health pages and in countless self-improvement books. Here are a few ideas to get you started on a more active and less fat laden lifestyle.

- Never eat more than two teaspoons of charred lean meat or less than 10 heads of dry lettuce for dinner.

- Empty the office watercooler at least once a day.

- Buy shares in a low fat cheese company.

- Join an urban adventure club, learn to both parachute off and scale up man-made structures, afterwards never again take the elevator to your office.

- Strip naked, tightly wrap yourself in saranwrap, then take a minimum 60 minute sauna at the highest setting.

- Take a person much larger than yourself who has never learned to swim for a dip in either the Huangpu River or Suzhou Creek.

Copyright by Shanghai Star.