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Thai Monks Fight Obesity, Receive Help From Academics

They may be known for their dedication to Buddhism and traditions of old, they may be known for their medidations and prayers, but modern-day food and drinks are taking their toll on Thailand’s monks. Their daily routine, beyond prayers and meditation, involves receiving alms and donations in the form of food and drinks received from the faithful. But the donations are made up in their majority from juices, sweet tea, snacks and junk food, all laden with fat and sugar. Not the best food, when you spend most of the time meditating and basically living a sedentary life.

“Obesity in our monks is a ticking time bomb,” Jongjit Angkatavanich, a health and nutrition expert at Bangkok’s prestigious Chulalongkorn University, told the press.

According to a study, 48% of the monks in Thailand are obese, 42% of them were found with high cholesterol levels, while 23% are suffering from high blood pressure and more than 10% of them are diabetic.

To help battle this escalating situation, scholars from the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, together with representatives from the country’s religious organisations have teamed up and are preparing a national programme which aims to combat monk obesity. The first step in this direction has already been taken: a trial project to train cooks for the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, one of Thailand’s two public Buddhist universities. The main points of focus are, at the moment, preparing meals with added protein, fibre and calcium and, of course, encouraging monks to increase their physical activity.

The overall goal is to promote a cleaner clerical living, drawing monks away from unhealthy food and teaching them how to cook their own balanced meals, while also aiming to convince them of the benefits of daily exercise.

The pilot project had some great results to show after the first eight weeks. The 82 monks with obesity problems who attend religious programmes at the university lost 1 kg on average and most of them cut their waistlines by a couple of centimetres during the programme, with one monk saying that he lost as much as 10 kgs in the past eight weeks.

The project will help the monks have a longer, healthier life, while also reducing medical fees, since the government is paying for everything concerning the welfare of the clergy.

About The Author

David Nataf started his career as co-founder of Net Development, a leading French web integrators, employing 80 people. After the merger of Net Development with Reef publisher, David joined the law firm, Jean-Pierre Millet, with the defense of computer attackers and victimes specialty ("hackers") in cases between different organizations such as NSA or other members of the international interception 'Echelon' network from the UKUSA treaty or the US Air Force. He is the author of several books on information warfare, consultant for the European Parliament as an expert in computer security (SSI) and electromagnetic signals intelligence (SIGINT). David Nataf successively launched several start-ups of the Internet in the field of paperless technologies termination of contracts online ("resilier.com"); online subscription to early stage fundraising foreshadowing the model will retain more later the platform "gust.com", or free roaming mobile operators (MVNO). Given his specialty at the cross road of anti computer crime legal advising, Internet technology, media and anti-propaganda operations, David has naturally become an actor's influence on the Web, working for a think-tank representing french defense and Aerospace. He is architecting crypto farms and masternodes for cryptocurrencies in Asia and Israel technological parks. He graduated in Law from the Faculty of Paris, is a passionate graduated gemologist by Gemological Institute of America "GG", Gemmological Association of Great Britain "Cert-Ga", practical daily triathlon.

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