Are You There Choco-Pie? It’s Me, Jiwon

Were you a fat kid who took solace in cookies and pie?  I was…

Hello Vicious Cycle

Hello Vicious Cycle    (

I’m the kid in yellow, just a shade skinnier than the kid with a spare 20-50 lbs on her.   It looks like she swallowed a toddler while I look like I swallowed a box of Choco-Pie.

Are you digging this illustrated cycle chart of how kids get fat as much as I am?!  I think that’s even a drawing of a Choco-Pie next to the bag of chips near the upper right corner.  For those of you newbies, Choco-Pie is the iconic marshmallow-y cake sandwich treat of the Korean homeland.

In Choco-Pie we trust...

In Choco-Pie we trust…

Koreans, historically proud members of the skinny tribe, find their membership threatened with the phenomenon of fat progeny, getting fatter by the minute, and getting that way with foods that are not traditional to the Korean diet e.g. dairy and wheat and American fast food.   The access to endless food combined with a constant sedentary lifestyle is a catastrophe in the making.

from Neon Seoul

A kid and his chips            (Neon Seoul blog)

This situation of fat Korean kids surpasses the realm of irony, entering into tragedy when you consider Korea’s history of intense deprivation and poverty perpetrated by colonization and war.   Out of the ashes, Korea defeated the demons of the Third World Curse only to have to fight the war against FAT.

March 21, 1951: Mass of rubble was all this mother and her three children found of their home when they returned to Seoul  (AP Photo/James Martenhoff)

March 21, 1951: Mass of rubble was all this mother and her three children found of their home when they returned to Seoul  (AP Photo/James Martenhoff)

I think if you eat a traditional Korean diet, you’ll find yourself engaged in healthy eating: whole grains, vegetables, tofu all complemented, not overwhelmed, by meat.   But I guess it’s not that simple because then we wouldn’t see so many fat Korean kids.

Your best friend and worst enemy

Attack of the MILK DUDS!

Speaking of fat Korean kids, I just wolfed down a box (practically) of Milk Duds this afternoon while writing this post!  And nothing to hold me back except for my slight illogical fear of fat.  It’s just like the “good old days” of coming home after school to an adult-free apartment and a cabinet full of Triscuits and Cheez Whiz.  Left to my own devices, I could morph into a locust swarm of Good Earth magnitude.

Not a dud

Not a dud

My parents were strict Korean parents about most things, but they worked long hours and some days I wouldn’t see them ’til nightfall, and by then they were just too tired and downtrodden to argue about me going over my Triscuit limit.  It’s easy to see how I got so chubby given my immigrant status with parents who had so much on their plate (no pun).  Immigrant families were stretched thin back then as they are stretched thin today, as they will be tomorrow.  My parents were practically see-through from all the stretching they had to do––stretching time, money, parenting, husbanding/wifing, and all the while stretching to become American…at least they never had to worry about getting fat.

Not-so-fine print

Not-so-fine print: EAT SOON AFTER OPENING

According to the WHO, over 42 millions kids under five are overweight and according to the CDC 17% of American children and teens are overweight.  And if you’re a fat kid, chances are you’ll be a fat adult.  No thanks.


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