Vietnam is an outstanding option as a tourist destination. Visitors can enjoy the exotic wildlife, pristine beaches and now fries and cheeseburgers. McDonalds is set to open its first location in Sài Gòn next year, nearly 20 years after “Doi Moi” or economic liberalization in the country. Since the lifted restrictions, companies like Starbucks, KFC and other fastfood chains have established a presence in the country. Vietnam, in terms of demographics has a 90 million population and rapidly expanding middle class.
McDonalds is not solely to blame for unhealthy eating habits and growing worldwide obesity epidemic. But will this signal a continued shift in the eating habits similar to what occurred in China? The World Health Organization (WHO) found that globally obesity rates have more than doubled since the 1980s. And now nearly 3 million people will die each year as a result of being overweight or obese!
In the South-East Asia region nearly 300,000 people die each year from obesity. And children, who are particularly susceptible to slick ad campaigns featuring tantalizing fast food, may be adversely affected. With an increase in energy-dense foods, think high in fat, salt and sugar, and a decrease in exercise from urbanization nearly 40 million children under age 11 are overweight.
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