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15 Million Office Workers Facing Health Risks in Thailand

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BANGKOK – A top Health Department official warned on Monday that some 15 million office workers in Thailand risk obesity and jeopardize their health by working more than 40 hours per week.

Health Department deputy director-general Dr Attapol Kaewsamrit was speaking during a seminar imparting training to staff of 12 government clinics and hospitals.

The staff are in charge of counseling office workers on how to change their behavior to avoid deadly health conditions.

The training, with cooperation between the Health Department, the Mental Health Department, Thammasat University’s Public Health Department and Srinakharinwiroj University, was held at the Royal City Hotel on Monday morning.

Attapol said some 15 million workers under the Social Security Fund spent at least 40 hours per week at their offices, leading to an accumulation of tension that affected their health.

He said these office workers became obese because they did not exercise and consumed too much sugar.

Dangerous Health Conditions (DHCs)

Dangerous health conditions (DHCs) include high-blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, artery-related disease, breast cancer and cervical cancer.

Attapol said DHCs are likely to rise among office workers and the tension could lead to depression.

As a result, these workers fall into one of the most vulnerable groups at risk of committing suicide.

With the Health Department realizing these risks, it had opened clinics to advise office workers to change their damaging lifestyles, he said.

The clinics have been in operation for more than ten years now, being part of 12 community clinics, provincial hospitals, general hospitals, and tambon hospitals.

He said the department needed to train more staff to provide advice to office workers.

Mental Health Department deputy director-general Doctor Samai Sirithongthaworn said his department had found that office workers aged over 20 also risk losing motivation to work and could become depressed because of increased tension.

He said all companies and organisations should motivate their workers to exercise, learn to manage their emotions, consume healthy foods and avoid alcohol or smoking to stay healthy and avert depression that could prompt them to commit suicide.

Source: The Nation