Thailand’s monks are an “obesity time bomb” – here’s why

Mention Thailand’s Buddhist monks and people usually picture ascetic and lean men in saffron robes.

But according to a new study almost half of them – 48 percent – are now obese, victims of an epidemic called an “obesity time bomb”. High blood pressure (23%) and diabetes (10%) have also become common.

So why has this happened? It seems like Buddhist monks were more into meditation than heavy physical activity long before this epidemic started. So why were they lean before and obese now? Here’s a clue:

The expanding waistlines are largely filling out because of the donations to their daily diet, researchers concluded. For the alms often consist of drink juices, sweet tea, snacks and street foods…

….Monks tend to drink juices, instant tea and coffee offered by the faithful, Ms Jongjit said, adding these were loaded with sugar and were high in energy.

Apparently monks are “not allowed to reject food offered by faithful”. Quite an obesity-creating environment.


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