Thais becoming sedentary, need more exercise, study finds
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Thais becoming sedentary, need more exercise, study finds

A therapist massages a worker suffering from
A therapist massages a worker suffering from "office syndrome" in Din Daeng district, Bangkok. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

A new study highlights the need for Thais to exercise more to ensure good health, with 76% spending seven hours or more sitting down each day, Health Department director-general Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said.

Dr Suwanchai said the study was jointly conducted in 2021 by the Public Health Ministry's Department of Health and the office of International Health Policy Programme (IHPP). Its report was now complete.

The study considered health information gathered from 78,717 people in 77 provinces.

The report concluded that Thai people had become largely sedentary, with 76% of them sitting down for seven hours or more every day. However, about 72% spent about 150 minutes or more per week on physical activities - a sufficient amount of time according to the World Health Organisation standard.

One reason Thais had become less active was the change in working conditions, with the workforce moving from the agricultural or industrial sector to being in an office. The risk of early death or falling ill with a non-communicable disease had increased because of their low rate of burning energy.

The study found that Thais did exercise or enagage in recreational activities to offset their sedentary office life-style, but not all of them. People in urban areas were able to spend more time on physical activities than those in rural areas because the facilities were more accessible, with infrastructure such as walkways and a public transport system.

This was enough for them to reduce the risk of being sick with non-communicable diseases, Dr Suwanchai said.

Dr Rapeepong Supanchaimat, director of the office of IHPP, said the study also revealed that more women had a higher rate physical activity than men.

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