Bangkok Post reviews
Lose weight, make merit
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: July 30, 2012 at 12:37 am
Here's a reason to lose weight and feel good. Khao Phansa, the start of Buddhist Lent, falls on Friday and this year the government is launching a nationwide drive in addition to its usual appeal exhorting Buddhists to abstain from alcohol for three months.
Under the slogan "Khao Phansa Lod Uan Sang Boon" (reduce weight during Buddhist Lent to make merit), the Public Health Ministry is urging overweight citizens to lose a few kilos and also make a financial contribution to a good cause.
Officials want to enlist 10 million people in the campaign in order to meet a very ambitious national target: it is hoped that a whopping 10,000 tonnes of body weight will have been shed nationwide by the end of Phansa.
The ministry has also announced that it is setting aside a budget of one million baht to be used for charitable purposes and has suggested that people who do manage to lose weight mark the achievement by making a donation to some deserving temple or charity project. The underlying aim of the initiative is to raise awareness of the growing threat that obesity poses to public health.
The number of overweight Thais above the age of 15 has risen to a staggering 17 million.
This figure will keep increasing, predicted Dr Paichit Warachit, the ministry's permanent secretary, because statistics indicate that four million people are at risk of crossing the threshold into obesity every year.
Dr Paichit revealed that the government currently spends in the region of 100 billion baht yearly to tackle the problems caused by obesity and related diseases and conditions.
But prevention is always better than cure, he pointed out.
"We expect that the campaign will make overweight people more aware of what they are eating and hopefully encourage them change some behaviours which are causing them to put on weight."