Fat monks haven't a prayer with rich food
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 is not as healthy as it seems. The investigation by Thai academics has discovered that 45pc of monks are obese, while 40pc suffer from congenital diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The reason for this dismal situation, the scientists concluded, was an unhealthy diet and insufficient exercise. Much of the food donated to monks is rich and oily and often contains too much sugar. In the evenings, when they are not supposed to eat, many monks enjoy sugar-laden soft drinks. Along with this, they lead 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. The survey's participants were 246 monks from the Dhammayuttika Nikaya and Mahayana movements in 11 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. Monks will be educated about the sort of food they should be collecting and people will be advised about what to feed them. (© Independent News Service)