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Thailand's Fat Monks Need to Slim Down to Avoid Obesity 'Time Bomb'

Image: Thailand's Fat Monks Need to Slim Down to Avoid Obesity 'Time Bomb'
Unidentified people in an ordination ceremony of a new Buddhist monk on March 10,2013 at temple in Prachuabkirikhan, Thailand. (Taitai6769/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 17 Mar 2016 10:53 AM

Thailand's fat monks have sparked a campaign designed to encourage them to lead healthier lifestyles and reduce medical costs.

A recent study showed that 48 percent of the Thailand's monks suffer from obesity, Jongjit Angkatavanich, an academic from Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, told the Bangkok Post.

The study found that about 42 percent of monks had high levels of cholesterol, 23 percent had high blood pressure, and about 10.4 percent were diabetic.

"Obesity in our monks is a ticking time bomb," Angkatavanich told the Bangkok Post.

Donations to the monks, which often include food items loaded with fat and sugar, have contributed to the weight gain, according to The Telegraph. Those items in the past have included juices, sweet tea, snacks, and street foods.

According to the website Buddhanet.net, monks can only collect, receive, and consume food between dawn and midday. They are not allowed to store food overnight and must have "all eatables and drinkables, except plain water, formally offered into his hands or placed on something in direct contact with his hands," the website noted.

The new campaign created and recently launched by Thailand academics and religious and health officials is meant to get the monks off junk food, teach them how to prepare balanced meals, and encourage them to exercise, The Telegraph reported.

A trial project at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, one of Thailand’s two public Buddhist universities, has been set up to train cooks to prepare meals with more protein, fiber, and calcium for monks, the U.K. newspaper said.

USA Today reported that the health ministry in Sri Lanka responded to the unhealthy clergy in 2012 by creating special menus for Buddhist devotees wanting to donate food.

"Because of their great affinity towards religious observances, most devotees offer food with high cholesterol content and the Buddhist monks have no choice but to partake of these foods all year round," Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena, who was health minister in 2012, said of the well-meaning people who supported the monks' bad eating habits.

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Thailand's fat monks have sparked a campaign designed to encourage them to lead healthier lifestyles and reduce medical costs.
thailand, fat, monks, study, healthy
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2016-53-17
Thursday, 17 Mar 2016 10:53 AM
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