Alarm sounded for ‘crispy skin’ youths

LIANG LUWEN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Common conditions associated with aging, from arthritis and high blood pressure to fatigue and osteopetrosis, are becoming more prevalent in people of younger ages in China due in part to unhealthy lifestyles, academic and work pressure in today’s fast-paced society, according to many experts.

Young people who experience signs of old age prematurely have taken to the internet to make light of their situation by calling themselves cuipi nianqingren, or “crispy skin youngsters”, digging at their frail bodies that seem to be teetering on the brink and easily collapse at the slightest tap.

The self-deprecating term first emerged in a news report in early October. Local media in central China’s Henan province reported that in September of last year alone, the emergency care department of Zhengzhou Central Hospital received more than 1,700 relatively young patients, an abnormally high number, according to the hospital.

“Most were age 18 to 25 and visited the hospital for trauma, abdominal pain, chest tightness, hyperventilation, acute alcohol poisoning and swelling of the gallbladder,” said Cheng Xiaodan, deputy director of the department.

“These conditions are usually caused by irregular circadian rhythms, staying up late and poor diets,” she said during an interview with local media.

Health experts said the prevalence of unhealthy habits is sickening young adults and potentially pushing the onset of some conventionally geriatric problems.

More efforts are needed to spread health awareness and motivate them to build self-discipline and adopt and stick to healthier ways of living, they said.