Enlightenment needed: Thailand's Buddhist monks to get food lessons after study shows nearly half are obese
The Buddhist monks of Thailand are not known to be an especially active bunch. Prayers, chanting and the collecting of alms take up much of their time.
But a new study suggests this lack of activity is not as healthy as one would assume. The investigation by Thai academics has discovered that 45 per cent of monks are obese while a full 40 per cent of them suffer from congenital diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Many of them also suffer from various allergies.
The reason for this dismal situation, the scientists concurred, was an unhealthy diet and insufficient exercise. Much of the food donated to monks when they interact with the public is rich and oily and often contains too much sugar. In the evenings, when they are not supposed to eat, many of them will enjoy sweet soft drinks, usually also laden with sugar. Some monks told the researchers they may sip as many as three such drinks a night.
Along with this is an unhealthy lifestyle. A report in The Nation newspaper said that apart from making their walks for alms, their only real exercise was sweeping the courtyards of their temples. Just over 20 per cent of the monks have annual health check-ups.
The survey's participants were 246 monks from the Dhammayuttika Nikaya and Mahayana movements in 11 of Thailand’s provinces.
The newspaper reported that following the investigation by Dr Pinij Larpthananon and Prof Jongjit Angkatavanich from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, and Dr Phramaha Suthit Aphakaro, director of the Buddhist research institute at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, a dual track plan had been put into place.
Not only will monks be educated about the sort of food they should be collecting, but a public education campaign will seek to advise people on healthy options they can give to the men in saffron robes.
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
Justin Bieber's unfinished monkey business
World news in pictures
Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Tears and cheers as David Beckham ends glittering career after helping PSG to final win
- 2 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£50000 - £58000 per annum + Benefits and Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: SAP F...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...
£240 - £260 per day: Progressive Recruitment: WPF Developer (C#, VB.Net) North...