Opinion | Church

Why Helping the Poor Is Not Enough

China's diabetes epidemic reminds us that material and spiritual well being don't always overlap. Much of the time, they don't.

There's a surprising new global leader in diabetes: China. And the problem is larger than previously thought. National prevalence more than tripled in a decade; as of 2010, 1 in 10 Chinese adults had diabetes, with 16 percent more pre-diabetic. This nearly equals the rate of disease in the United States and exceeds that of other Western nations. One pharmaceutical executive calls China "the world's capital for diabetes." Most of these cases are Type 2 diabetes, developed in adulthood and linked to poor eating habits, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle. This is a natural result of more Chinese adopting an excessive and sedentary—some might say Western—diet and lifestyle.

In a sense, this bad news contains a seed of good news: a startling growth in prosperity in our lifetime, not only in China but around the world. Remember when your mother told you to eat your peas because the hungry children in China would be grateful to have such a meal? Well, far fewer ...

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