South Korea is different from the United States.
In some important respects this Asian country is more like America than most of us would think. This country is a democracy with a booming economy.
But the differences are great and go beyond Korea’s use of a different language and even a different alphabet than Westerners use. The differences go far beyond history and tradition. The biggest differences that I have seen during my visit this month are in the people themselves.
I saw with my own eyes how thin almost all Koreans are. Coming from the United States — even though I live in the thinnest state — I have been amazed to see almost no obesity here.
So, of course, I expected that almost no one in Korea would have diabetes. After all, didn’t the American weight problem lead to the rapid rise of diabetes in our country?
We know that some sort of link between being overweight and having diabetes exists. We do know that being overweight doesn’t cause diabetes, because two-thirds of American are overweight and about one-tenth of us have diabetes. But as our weight has gone up so too has the proportion of people with diabetes. Those two conditions have to have some association. [Read more →]