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Asia's growing wealth spawns new health challenges

Tears run down the cheeks of an overweight Chinese student as he uses weights during training at a camp held for overweight children at a local university in Beijing, China.   © Getty Images

Economic development is fueling the rise of an increasingly affluent middle class in Asia. But this prosperity comes at a price. Alongside old afflictions and new threats, the region is seeing unprecedented levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, among others. Asia is also battling the emergence of drug-resistant infections, due in part to the overuse of antibiotics.

At the same time, demand for private health services, including weight management clinics and high-end gyms, is soaring. How the region responds to its rapidly changing medical needs will determine not just the health but also the wealth of its future generations.

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