Diabetes and Obesity

Dec 4th, 2008, in Society, by

Purba on eating habits and foods of Indonesians, prevalence of diabetes and obesity.

Diabetes and Obesity in Indonesia

Indonesia is not immune to the western scourge of obesity and diabetes type 1 and 2.

In fact in Asia, as household disposable income rises and more chain Western fast food or take out is available, so too has its diabetes incidence.

The Lancet states that

“proportions of people with type 2 diabetes and obesity have increased throughout Asia, and the rate of increase shows no sign of slowing. People in Asia tend to develop diabetes with a lesser degree of obesity at younger ages, suffer longer with complications of diabetes, and die sooner than people in other regions. Childhood obesity has increased substantially and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has now reached epidemic levels in Asia. The health consequences of this epidemic threaten to overwhelm health-care systems in the region…”

One of the many major problems is of course poor diet and or minimal exercise.

Indonesian traditional food is famously very healthy- and in fact the common ingredients of turmeric (kunit), galangal and ginger (often confused as jahe), pepper (lada hitem) and hot chili (cabe rawit) are famous for the anti-oxidant and even anti carcinogenic [properties.
Indonesian food including the ‘royal dishes’ are very simple hearty peasant fare and simply cooked as stir fries or soups and stews.- keeping much of the nutrients in.

The problem is increase consumption of fried foods (gorengan) and non traditional fried foods which do not use tapioca or casasva as base root (like modern day potatoi crisp).

Dr Oz of Oprah states that no matter how healthy an oil may be- if it is heated for deep frying- any of the healthy fats and oil chemically later to become saturated: same as eating raw dripping.

In 1975, Walter Voegtlin published a book advocating a Stone age diet, in which he recommends sharply limiting most common sources of carbohydrates – very much a reflection of traditional Asian diets.

Famous Dr. Atkins claimed that the tremendous increase in refined carbohydrates has been responsible for the rise in metabolic disorders of the 20th century, with overhyping the effect of fats to obesity problem by neglecting the increased proportion of carbohydrates in the diet.

The major problems have started with the increased consumption of rice- incidentally some of the variants bred to help farmers and the poor- a recently discovered trade-off for better pest resilience has been alterations in internal cellulose (sugar) structures- leading to rices with higher simple carbohydrates easily stored by humans as fat.

Not a problem for the labourers – as they literally work their food off – but the gluttonous and over indulged middle-classes and their obnoxiously fat brattish pig-like children.

Portion control – traditionally – two fists sizes of rice was considered plenty. Part of kejawen belief but very much common with other indigenous groups is never finish one’s food – not only shows the host you are full – but more personally it is self denial and self-sacrifice, fasting and so forth very much a part of Javanese thought and quest for mastery of the rasa‘s- the base desires – perhaps alluding to Hindu traditions or even the animist-self harm tradition predating the Indian religions.

Sadly many Kejawen and other traditional beliefs have been discarded as unfashionable – and one can correlate a rise in undesirable official behaviours with the relaxation of kejawen/adat beliefs.

In China – if one finishes food – it is essentially insulting – it means the host is stingy. In China – they will fill you until you burst and are very keen on drinking – especially buffet with open bar. I gained ten kilo in only two weeks – not good!

This is quite a contrast to the West- where if you do NOT finish your food – it implies it was not tasty or adequate.

Another problem has been the massive increase in domestic rubbish foods especially little more than flavoured sugar cubes candy bars like “Beng-beng”, “Ting-ting” and other highly processed saturation point sugary rubbish appealing to the uneducated sweet tooth of the poor and emergent middle classes.

Indonesians – especially the Javanese are infamous for sweet tooth – with sugar added to many mains dishes – such as abon, dendeng, gudek, rujak etc.

But traditionally these and traditional desserts such as kolak, jajanan pasar etc were made with red Palm Sugar (gula Jawa/gula merah) – which has a very low glycemic index and the body works particularly hard to convert these complex sugars into cellular foods. And of course portion size was tiny!

In my day a red diamond shaped jajanan traditional treat was lucky if greater than 1 cm wide. Now – 4-5 cm giants.

Gula Jawa has also been replaced by the cheaper cane sugar the Dutch imported as plantation crop with its accompanying colonial ills.

Then Dutch cuisine- a welcome yummy reprise from the Javanese norm – with its cakes, strudels, cookies, kue putri salju, kastangels, cat’s tongues, pjofferties pikelets all invariably (very liberally) rolled in icing sugar etc- were too delicious to say no to- but soon we, like the Dutch discovered too much sugar rot the teeth – and not enough betel (sirih/buah pinang) stick traditional toothbrush cannot fix! Betek – is naturally anti septic and antifungal – so despite Javanese teeth being almost black – they were very healthy – my own chef has movie star perfect teeth and has never once been to dentist – she refuses toothpaste as “blerk- permen londo!”

Asia also has cultural connotation of chubby being the same as healthy (not manourished) and fat with wealthy- “makmur” in Arabic, the fat grinning Buddha, the Chinese Plutus god of fortune, the Maneki Neko beckoning cat and for Central Java not so far from my own lands- Candi Pawon and Candi Mendut.

Pawon is a temple devoted to Kuvera- Buddhist God of fortune- with many chubby statues especially pot-bellied dwarfs pouring riches over the entrance walkway.

Mendut is related to the Javanese word “gendut”- fat- as in the name kids tease each other as fatso: “ndut”.

Mendut Temple is unknown to many- but houses a 3 metre fatso Budda fatso- hence Candi Mendut- Fatso temple.

We also see the famous dwara pala- the temple or entrance ogre statue as representatives of Shiwa the Destroyer.

So many intrinsic very deep rooted Asian connotations of fatso- with wealth and power.

In China- one can see that many very wealthy businessmen with gorgeous lady on arm- are fatsos.

Same in India, same in Indonesia.

The only exception tends to be the military – where being chubby means lazy and exercise averse.

The nasty but effective cure fatso is inviting is millions of excruciating pinches of flab, thousands of sit ups and full battledress squats in the mid-day sun- push ups with drill instructor standing on shoulders and is choice stomach for recruit to jump on with both feet during strength training drills- not to mention wacking hardest with boards for self defence.

Also in Asia – we have unfortunate social attitudes of sweating being either unhealthy or undesirable and physical exercise for solely the labourers alone – or even for the older generations – unbecoming for women.

The fitness craze has bitten the young however- who are hitting the gym for whatever reasons in increasing numbers.

And also we should mention dropping of standards for women – especially by the attention of such peasant idols as Inul – with their enormous violently swung derrieres.

This “bokong joget” – [big fat butt suitable for joget and jaipongan traditional dance where woman thrusts out her butt when she dance] may be attractive to village farmer seeking a luxurious soft cushion for sleep – but ghetto butts “bokog subur” (“fertile butt”) is not healthy and of course very kampungan – low brow.

In my day – fat or chubby women were as undesirable as a dose of VD – seen as kampungan.

The ideal was the slim slender court dancer Wnot the fat butt pesindhen or jaipongan dancer.

My daughter attending an all-girl school got lazy and too much sweet tooth – her mother often scolded her as “bahenol” – 8 atop a 0 – meaning basically “pear shaped” or “si keabotan bokong” [fat ass in crude Javanese] and being undesirable for suitable marriage material male (jangan bokong ne kaya pembantu deh) she threw away all unhealthy food and inspect daughter’s bedroom for hidden chocolate and daughter returned to being slim like her mother – and not fatso like her all-girls school classmate.

Summarily – we have many type 1 untreated diabetes – and this is common where indigenous diets have been usurped by low grade high carb Western substitute. Carbohydrate here refers to the simple type – the monosaccharides easily converted into cellular required glucose – hence very easy to gain fat from such high carb food if energy expenditure does not exceed energy intake.

Carbohydrates are not essential nutrient for humans – we are evolved to almost all our energy requirements from proteins and fats – us human cannibal chimps.

The FAO and UN WHO both recommend that national dietary guidelines set a goal of 55-75% of total energy from carbohydrates, but only 10% directly from sugars (their term for simple carbohydrates).

Also there are shared Western obesity issues linked to the replacement of cane sugar with the more economic HFCS- super processed high fructose corn syrup.

Insulin treatment is likely beyond the economic reach of most Indonesians – or they relapse into indulging sweet cravings.

The best solution practicable to emergent diabetes appears to be strict dieting, replacing rice with vegetables in the diet if not regular outright fasting.

57 Comments on “Diabetes and Obesity”

  1. fullmoonflower says:

    Thanks God… I am vegetarian…

    I cannot bite and swallow meat since I was young, because of it’s aroma, and also the “bloody scene” I saw when Idul Adha at the masjid behind my parent’s home…
    I looked into the goats’ and cows’ eyes, and I saw them crying before they die πŸ˜₯

    That’s made me cannot eat their meat till now πŸ™

    And ofcourse, it’s made me have a normal blood pressure, controlled hypoglycemia, normal cholesterol, and also un-wrinkled good shiny fair skin and black hair as bonuses πŸ˜‰

    pecel, lotek, gado-gado, papaya leaves buntil, bothok mlandhing, boiled casava leaves+sambal tomat… those are my favorites ….

  2. Purba Negoro says:

    Very Javanese- and extremely healthy and actually our true correct Indonesian/Javanese diet.

    Meat- like beef and goat was rarely consumed- we Sunda and Jawa have a very long history of fresh water aquaculture- perhaps as old as rice cultivation- so very high consumption of lele (eel) and gurame.
    Adem! Enak bwanget nih!

    The Dutch labelled our Javanese tempe as “Javanese meat” and Tempe has plenty of proteins perfect for meat substitute for vegans.

    For ladies the real beras kuncur like all traditional jamu- is incredibly healthy too.
    The rice washing water done straight in the fields- is full of nutrient.

    But the one done at home with rice cooker- is
    simply starch for shirts!- in fact our old maid I recall would set this aside to later process for for my father’s clothing and uniform.
    Collars like plastic and creases one can cut apples with!

    Also- we should be careful our veggies are not full of pesticide and fertiliser and of course try whenever to support Marhaenisme by buying our produce from trustworthy farmers and markets or similar!

    I have a retired pejabat friend and real Javanese royal from Wonogiri- his ancestral lands are teak- so no good for food- very dry. Plenty of kacang mede (cashew) though!

    His son is very clever indeed and owns much land in Bogor- which he runs like a true Javanese lord:
    BUT he grow strictly organic veggie using latest Western concepts and multiple cropping- he is technical supervisor to his worker.
    His farmers, like most, are too poor to own land- but they work on his free and may build houses free from rent on his lands.

    A percentage (about 30-40%) of the harvest is retained for selling so lands are fully economically sustainable and profitable.
    The rest is for the farmer to dispose as they please- to sell or use privately.
    In this way- the farmer are very comfortable- all have ample money.

    So- this kind of operation- very correctly Marhaenisme and true gotong royong!

    There are many such positive stories of such privileged Indonesians helping their poor- and why I am very optimistic of Indonesia’s future.
    The real nobles not the raja cilik or bangsawan palsu still very much care for their Rakyat.

  3. Geordie says:

    PN said the following: –

    This is quite a contrast to the West- where if you do NOT finish your food – it implies it was not tasty or adequate

    I don’t know what it’s like now but growing up we a) had to eat slowly b) have good table manners c) never finish one’s plate.

    And this was at home, visiting even close relatives meant an agony of formality, speaking only when spoken too and bruised shins for, real or perceived, infringements. My mother’s proud boast to this day is that ‘..she could take her boys anywhere, leave them and find them sitting the same place…’; terror’ll do that to you.

    Anyway, my diet is exclusively Javanese/Sundanese and eating with one’s hands is certainly a good way to reduce the speed with which I eat and the amount as most of it ends up around my mankok (better than a plate for managing portion size) as opposed to in my mouth. And I can’t, for the life in me, understand why the youngsters would choose McCrap, Buggerking or Kentucky Fried Shite over traditional foods, they are, after all, not that hard to come by and a shed load better.

    Very good post PN, less is more and elegant sufficiency (we used to have to say that when we were visiting any non-relative!) is just that, elegant.

  4. Purba Negoro says:

    thank you for the cultural correction.

    Maybe it’s certain kinds of bule- for example I had Greek friends in Melbourne who would stuff me to bursting.
    And do I need to relate the horrors of eating rice pudding in London and telling the host how lovely it was?

    But- very correct- as we age- we should adjust to compensate for our metabolism.

  5. Peter says:

    Western food is not healthy in general. I always try to avoid it.

  6. Ashlee says:

    While some of this article was very interesting, and obesity and diabetes is certainly an important issue both in Indonesia and around the world, the author seems to be suggesting that calling people who are not the most desirable body shape mean names is some sort of acceptable behavior – especially fine if they are women, whose sole purpose in life is apparently to attract a husband.

    As a fatso Western feminist, I find that concept a bit offensive.

    Belitting girls (and boys too) about their weight only leads to low self-esteem… in the West, that has produced a surge in eating disorders. Low self-esteem can make people too fat or even too thin. It doesn’t help the situation at all.

    Education should be the key, as well as encouraging people to be active and eat healthily. Mean names and judging people because of their weight will not help improve the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Help rather than judgment is always the best approach.

    And at the end of the day, everyone’s body is different. Not everyone is built to be svelte, so the focus should be on healthy eating and exercise rather than society deciding that one kind of body is ok and everyone else should be victimised because they don’t fit that mould. That does nobody any favours, except the beauty industry that makes its money by preying on womens’ low self-esteem…

  7. Farah says:

    …hmmm…. its quite hard for people from sumatra… as we eat so many coonut milk based food.. also we are meat lovers (rendang ? gulai? nasi lemak?). Even the cake called “masubah” made from 22 eggs, a can of milk, and sugar, very fattening !!

    This is been haunting my “big family” since like year years ago.. Plus lack of work out.. ouch !! my great grand parents passed away because of high blood pressure, heart problem, and diabetes (complication). Its a “common” death cause for my family (very scary to hear that !!).
    Most of my family (not close related) are “big size”. But my family like my parent and sisters are.. normal weight. I think its because my mom is midwife so she control our food and sugar. Also because were.. tall..(between 160-175 cm’s). Must have vegetables, and fish everyday… and my father jog with me every morning for 30 min at least. And push us to drink water a lot !

    We encouraged to master at least one sport (the children), and i could remember saturday afternoon is family swimming activity. We went to swimming pool every week since i am about 4 or 5!

    Its good actually… until 2003 my weight only 55 kgs while my height is 173 cms (skinny whiny!)

    Hehehe… when i went working in this jungle all of those diets and work out seemed to fail. Working 12 hours sitting in front of comp, i gain weight ! but still in normal range of course.

  8. Purba Negoro says:

    Good for you Farah,
    yes- our Batak cousin have many problem with their love of gulai and santen (coconut milk).
    They tend to be big people- just look at Mas Taufik Kiemas! He is a balloon.

    Padang food is very worst offender for such santen abuse!
    Cassava in santen, fish in santen, egg in santen- even the chicken is in santen- and roasted!
    Then the rice- cooked in Santen!
    You Sumatran have a santen fixation!

    But- the green chili samabl is very yum and I love the dendeng

    And also- many Batak like to drink and have fun- not be miserable shy self-deprivors like us Javanese!

    I am sure you know Surabaya and East Java food food very beef based- sate krebo even and rawon- one of my favourite soup.

    And I am surprised you are not big fan of Khas Manado! So yum! Spicy fish and salada bunga papaya (papaya flower salad). So delicious!

    So- not to worry- still plenty of healthy food out there- just cut out your Santen!

  9. fullmoonflower says:


    Manado foods are delicious…
    my fave ones are Tumis Bunga Pepaya, Tinutuan (Bubur Manado), and Pisang Goreng Dabu-Dabu Tainala (Tainala = Blondho)… yummyyy….. πŸ™‚

    *Will go to Manado on February to visit my friends there.. πŸ™‚ … wow, can’t wait to see them and the foods… (slurp)*

  10. Farah says:

    @ PN
    haha.. we had…. some fetish over coconut milk i guess hehehe….

    i love dendeng.. but rarely eat it..

    I like gado2, ketoprak, pecel, tempe&tahu bacem (ohhh can’t get enough of this !).. i know this food when i went to jogja for studying. Until now i still love tempe.. hehe.. (makanan anak kost !)

    Bubur manado.. hmm yums !

    Yeah i know rawon.. but not really fan of it….

    @ fmf

    pisang goreng dabu2?? wow.. thats new ! i know dabu2 but pisang goreng dabu2?? u-uh.. sound delicious !

    I am going to bandung and perhaps will do some wisata kulinier there…

  11. Purba Negoro says:

    Have you tried pecel mede? This is a special dish from my home area.

    Also we have sate kelinci (rabbit satay).

    One thing many Western I know hate is chocolate and cheese or banana with cheese.
    Personally I no longer like.

    Sundanese food is also very delicious & healthy actually my favourite .

    Yes- I am traitor to Javanese food.
    I personally recommend Dapur Sunda resto- very good authentic menu and also delivery!

    sioa mai Bandung?
    Soto Bandung (made of beef)

    Pesonal fave:
    Ulukutek Leunca (a dish made small pea that looks like a caper, but taste something like eggplant)?
    Kacang pete? (Stinky bean- makes your pee smell very horrible)
    Ayam geprek
    Urab sayur
    There is empal and usus (intestines)
    Pencok kacang.
    Karedok- Sundanese take on ketoprak
    Alk the gurame receipe- soto, pepes, babkar

    The sambal Mangga and Sambal Oncom- is particularly fantastic.
    And the sambal ulek terasi- which Malaysia steal and very poorly duplicate is fanastic- but only if made with correct very stinky fermenting ikan bilis (white fry)- so your cat will pester you for hours after eating.

    No Kitty- I am not made of ikan bilis- so please drooling and trying to eat me and smell my face!!
    I just ate sambel ulek sunda- woe is me!

  12. Andy says:

    Gotta say as a bule that I love Padang food and second is Manado. Variety, spiciness and overall taste very good.

  13. fullmoonflower says:

    @ Farah..

    Yes, you can find pisang goreng dabu-dabu through the Boulevard Street or at “gerobak-gerobak” pisang goreng dabu-dabu in front of Hotel Gran Puri, Manado.

    This is not a new thing in Manado. First time I tasted it on 2003, it was strange for me as a Javanese and a new comer there. But I admitted that it is delicious…
    Now it is become my habit. I cannot eat pisang goreng without sambal/rica tomat or dabu-dabu… hahaha πŸ˜†

  14. Farah says:

    @ Andy
    yeah.. I miss padang food when I am traveling… even when I am in different province.. the taste just different wont be the same.

    @ fmf
    I never been to Manado… πŸ™ maybe some day I will
    but there’s two bule at my work place that love dabu2 so when there’s pizza night they will bring their dabu2 chili to the pizza place and made extra hot pizza with that!! That’s how I “meet” dabu2 at the first time with tears of “joy” and laugh hahaha!

    ….I like indonesian food….

  15. Lairedion says:

    I have tasted many cuisines but my ancestral Manadonese is still the best. Tinoransak, Cakalang Fufu, Dabu-dabu Lilang, Tumis Bunga Pepaya (yes, Mbak FMF) and all the rica dishes. I even tried RW and Paniki, it tastes good but dog and bat are not your regular meat dishes outside Minahasa.

    However I also appreciate Sundanese food. In the nineties I lived in Bandung and yes, Farah, Bandung is a food heaven. My favourite restaurant is Panineungan at Jl. Dago but unfortunately it doesn’t exist anymore (turned into a predictable outlet). My wife, a Bandung girl, is a natural cook and, luckily for me, also mastered Manadonese cuisine.

    Both Manadonese and Sundanese cuisines are tasty and very healthy.

  16. Pakmantri says:


    Welcome back kang! Hope everything is going well in Malaga.

    Mmmmmm …….. paniki taste like chicken. :))

    RW, the Batak version, the Menado version, sengsu (that’s the Javanese version), even the Philippine version I’ve tried them all!! It’s all good.


  17. Purba Negoro says:

    I think we are all now so jealous!

    yes- all bule really seem to love the Padang food- Sari Ratu restaurant chain is very popular for the bule to eat- the one doesntairs in Plaza Indonesia (cojoining the Hyatt is always) very busy.

    Why do you think- as a Westerner- Khas Padang is so popular?
    maybe because Westerner has already experienced similar Malaysian foods?… or?

    I forget which region this is but banana flower salad- tumisan bunga pisang- has anyone tried this?

  18. parvita says:

    First, I wonder if anybody has done statistics on how diabetes relates to fast food and relate that to when the fast food chain entered Indonesia. I would say the introduction of western food has a big effect on the raise of diabetes Type-2. As I look at the children nowdays, there are lots of obese children walking around compared to 20 or 30 years ago.

    Second, I wonder if that is true for Indonesia. If you are talking about diabetes Type-2, it is hard for me to imagine a country like Indonesia, where there are still lots of people suffering from malnutrition. Lots of carbs, not enough protein. I would say that in Indonesia, what is mentioned in the article is only true for big cities.

    Third, Javanese food, especially the Central Javanese food, are sweet. I would imagine that Central Javanese would probably be prone to diabetes if we only consider traditional food. And people from Sumatra would suffer from high cholesterol because of the coconut milk (santan) they put in their diet.

    Maybe we should introduce sports again in school. Do they still teach sports, where the children go out and run in the greens? Not only for diabetes, but for heart diseases. These obese kids would become people that are prone to heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. If the government is concerned about the future of this country, they have to start putting sports into their curriculum.

  19. Rob says:


    Diabetes and obesity are serious problems all over the world. The problem might be fast food and this might be a “Western” creation in terms of Mickey D’s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, and the like. However, most people can still choose to eat healthy if they want to, most don’t.

    The tone of the piece was standard for you. Taking a serious issue and using it as a platform to bash all things Western and foreign. I would like to see you do the same with groups like Gudang Garam, Sampoerna, and others that are doing equally as much harm to your beloved Indonesian brothers and sisters as is McDonalds or KFC.

    Don’t get me wrong. I believe that fast food has a lot to answer for in terms of contributory negligence in the explosion of Type 2 diabetes. However, food intake is only part of the problem. A balanced diet with exiercise in most cases alleviates all symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes once the sufferer gets into a normal weight range.

    I do wonder what Inul’s arse has to do with fast food, diabetes, or obesity?

  20. Rob says:


    Since when has there been the fascination with peasants? Is this a growing class consciousness that will culminate with you morphing into an armchair revolutionary with liberal leaning persuasions doing the cafe circuit?

  21. Harris says:

    The best diet is the mediteranean one. 100% Western food.

    Nowaday Indonesian food is probably in the top 10 worst / unhealthy food in the world. Before 1998 you could still find good food in the street. It’s almost impossible now. What is Indonesian food? Indomie.. glutamate powder… overused saturated cheap oil, industrial chicken and bad quality over-pupuked rice..

    “Moderen” indonesian (street) food is the worst in Asia (with the Malay one) and one of the worst / most unhealthy in the world.

  22. Bas says:

    “Mickey D’s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks” is not the “Western” food. It’s US food. Including french, Italian.. food in the same bag is just stupid.
    Just like using “bules” for both US citizens, Europeans and Australians.
    Do we assimilate Chinese, Japaneses and Javanese people and food?

  23. Geordie says:

    Harris said the following: –

    The best diet is the mediteranean one. 100% Western food.

    Nowaday Indonesian food is probably in the top 10 worst / unhealthy food in the world. Before 1998 you could still find good food in the street. It’s almost impossible now. What is Indonesian food? Indomie.. glutamate powder… overused saturated cheap oil, industrial chicken and bad quality over-pupuked rice..

    β€œModeren” indonesian (street) food is the worst in Asia (with the Malay one) and one of the worst / most unhealthy in the world.

    Harris, I think that a blanket approach to Indonesian food as you’ve taken is as false as holding the med diet as a panacea. First, in my opinion, there’s an awful lot of regional difference in the med. Rural southern Itay with its reliance on fresh seasonal veggies is, I would suggest, a ‘healthier’ cuisine than say its North African counterparts.

    And I will disagree with you regarding Indomie, not that it’s awful, because it is but you can’t compare it with the cuisines of the med because you’re not comparing apples with apples or durian with durian if you will. As the posts hitherto have, or should have, demonstrated to you, just like the med, Indonesia has many cuisines. I don’t know which warungs you eat at but, clearly, they’re the wrong ones.

  24. Irene says:

    i don’t know if this peasant would be willing to give up her chocolate martabak (with extra mentega) and all that sugary rubbish for beras kencur. i simply can’t deny the demands of my poor uneducated sweet tooth. so, i guess, i’ll just go to the gym.

    if i may put my two cents in, obesity along with diabetes is not a ‘western’ epidemic that just happened to spill over into Asia Pacific. all societies have this problem, some more than others. sure, McDonald’s Super Size Me ideology has been a factor but putting all the blame on the Western society is as ridiculous as the two girls that sued McDonalds for their obesity. The underlying problem really is the lack of self-control and education. People need to understand how life-threatening diabetes type 2 is.

    While calling people names like fatso or kampungan is one way to keep them away from eating too much, its not exactly an advised strategy according to *ahem* most health experts. As Ashlee mentions, verbal insults will only yield low self-esteem and pave the way for eating disorders. You should eat healthy and engage in physical activity not because you’re afraid of what people will think of you but because you understand the detrimental effects of a disease like diabetes.

    Interesting fact: Inul, the peasant’s idol, with her ever so ‘subur’ butt, may be considered ‘not healthy’ in Indonesia but by international WHO standards she is perfectly healthy (especially with all that physical activity lol). On the other hand, someone who is, say 173cm and 55kg, which in Indonesia is considered normal, by international standards is unfortunately considered malnourished.

    Obesity is not the only problem that needs to be addressed. Under-nutrition is also a coexisting issue.

  25. fullmoonflower says:

    Today is Idul Idha….
    People are happy, but not me πŸ™

    I cannot eat everything : satay kambing, gulai kambing, opor ayam, rendang sapi, dendeng rusa (from papua), sambal goreng ati dan bola daging cincang … πŸ™„

    I only eat Tahu Bacem, Sayur Labu, and a half of Ketupat for breakfast, and then I cook Tumis Kangkung and Bakwan Jagung for my lunch…

    It’s a horrible day for me. I cooked everything all night last night, but then I cannot eat them at all, together with my family and friends… πŸ™

  26. kinch says:

    kari kambinggggggg… good for somethingggggg πŸ™‚

  27. parvita says:

    I agree that there are healthy choices of food. I’m not saying Indonesian food are all healthy. But for sure junk food are not healthy. Some parents are too busy to cook and they just buy food from outside, or order in fast food for convenience.

    I’d say we need to exercise more. And teach the kids to do outdoor activities instead of playing with computer games and playstation. And more important, balance and moderation for the diet.

  28. ET says:

    Summarily – we have many type 1 untreated diabetes – and this is common where indigenous diets have been usurped by low grade high carb Western substitute.

    Correction. Type 1 diabetes – also called juvenile diabetes – isn’t caused by an unhealthy diet or obesity. It affects primarily younger people and is an autoimmune disorder in which the diabetic person’s immune system produces antibodies that destroy the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The chance of being affected by this type of diabetes seems to be related to inherited characteristics that can be located at the 6th chromosome. Although they are insulin dependent many patients lead a normal, even sporty or high-style life – the shapely movie star Halle Berry being a fine example.

    Also in Asia – we have unfortunate social attitudes of sweating being either unhealthy or undesirable and physical exercise for solely the labourers alone – or even for the older generations – unbecoming for women.

    This is true.
    To keep myself in shape I use to make all my movements in a radius of 10 km on bicycle, much to the bewilderment of the squatters in the roadside bale bengong for whom riding a bicycle seems the puncak of loserdom, only suitable for little children and peasants.
    I still remember the day when I was cruising down the Jalan Raya on my bicycle when some po-faced local nutter comes riding next to me astride his Honda Astrea, looks me up and down smiling haughtily and says full of contempt for the bule miskin on his poor man’s transpot β€œDo you like your bike? I like my motorbike, ha, ha, ha”. Then he heads off on his motor bebek like a jeans advertisement on a Harley.

    But improvement is on the way. More and more, mostly elderly, locals give me the thumbs up when I pass by and young guys form bicycle clubs and go out riding together on their mountainbikes, completely geared up for the occasion with helmets and uniformed clothing. Western pop-culture at least seems to have a positive influence in this case.

  29. fullmoonflower says:

    @ ET..

    It is really fun to go to office by bike… πŸ˜‰
    Avoid to macet 😑

    When I was teenager, I used to go to school by bike everyday, and also biking with friends from my home (Bulak Sumur) to Medari or Prambanan & Candi Boko twice a month (on sunday)…
    passed through “sawah-sawah” and rivers….hmmmm…. 8)

  30. ET says:


    I think one day we will go out riding together, passing through sawah-sawah, sit down by the rivers, take off our clothes for a swim and then … hmmmm…

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