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Love food, love life; don't envy 'big stomachs' | Updated: 2021-12-19 16:18
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A waitress packs leftovers for customers who finished a meal at noon on Aug 13, 2020 at Yongmama restaurant in Lubei district, Tangshan, North China's Hebei province. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Radio stations, TV stations, and online video and livestreaming platforms are forbidden to make, broadcast or spread programs that feature overeating, according to a new wok plan issued by the National Development and Reform Commission, together with three other departments.

That's a positive move. It is easy to see from even a glimpse at any of the "big stomach" videos or livestreams, in which the hosts may eat a dozen hamburgers for lunch, for example, that their eating obviously exceeds a normal appetite. According to reports, such "big stomach" eaters can attract large audiences and more followers for commercial advertisements.

A good appetite can be healthy. Yet to promote such distorted eating is dangerous, not only to those doing the eating on the shows but also any who may be tempted to emulate or compete with them, it can cause eating disorders such as bulimia and can prove fatal.

In August 2020, a "big stomach" surnamed Wang in Shenyang city, Northeast China's Liaoning province died when preparing for his job, before which his weight rose from 100 kilos to 140 kilos. In the same month, a 3-year-old girl called "Peppa" was found to weigh 35 kilos, far exceeding the normal weight, which aroused nationwide worries about her health.

Those appearing in such videos or livestreamings are usually hired by companies with whole teams to finish the job, and even then they often throw up during ad breaks so they continue their performance.

And as well as by encouraging people to eat so much it may harm their health, by creating the impression that it is ok to eat to excess, such "big stomach" shows may lead to people wasting food.

Of course, that does not mean food videos or livestreamings should be curbed. A good food program can teach people how to cook delicious dishes or showcase local specialties from around the country. It could also spread the millenniums-long traditional food culture of China, which has made a deep impression on the whole world and got many followers.

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