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December 9, 2009

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Ways to promote a healthy lifestyle

EVEN as China surges ahead economically, there is growing awareness of the negative side effects of reckless industrialization and the need to protect the environment.

Like those in developed countries, some newly affluent Chinese are seeking natural, sustainably produced items, pursuing environmental protection and personally seeking balance among mind, body and spirit.

The movement for "lifestyles of health and sustainability," known as LOHAS, has quickly taken off in China since it was introduced in 2005.

This weekend the 2nd International LOHAS Forum, a major event on the LOHAS calendar, opens in Beijing.

"LOHAS has developed very, very fast in China - much more than we expected," says Dr Shen Li of Beijing Normal University, one of the pioneers of the movement in China. "It's partly because food safety and pollution issues are so serious here. If we don't aim for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, then development can only come to a dead end."

The forum - not for profit - is organized by experts and enthusiasts of the movement for others engaged in creating this new lifestyle.

Compared with last year's event, this year's forum is bigger in scale, including international speakers from the United States, Japan and Europe where LOHAS is considerably more advanced.

Around 200 experts, opinion leaders and business leaders in sustainable industries have been invited to share deeper understanding of a better lifestyle for the future.

Those who wish to participate can apply for 3,800 yuan each (US$556).

"Sharing a similar philosophy with Chinese culture, particularly the concepts of healthy living, emotional well-being and sustainability, LOHAS has been applied by the Chinese in areas such as investment, lifestyle and consumer products," says conference director Jeffrey Lee.

In addition to Dr Shen, other key speakers include renowned traditional Chinese medicine expert Zhang Mingliang, Liao Xiaoyi, environment adviser for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and New Age writer Masaru Emoto, author of the controversial "Messages from Water."

Talks are also combined with sessions in meditation and yoga. Tai chi will be demonstrated.

"We hope the forum will become a highlight and central focus in the LOHAS movement in China," says Lee.

This year there is also more participation from non-governmental organizations such as The Jane Goodall Institute and the China Youth Climate Action Network.

Major Chinese print media have been invited, although not TV stations because, "we don't believe watching TV is good for a happy life. It's not LOHAS," says Dr Shen.

Date: December 12, 9am-9pm; December 13, 9am-6pm

Venue: Grand Hyatt Beijing, Chang'an Avenue

Tel: 010-6219-2184

E-mail to for details.


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