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Overweight and unhealthy, Thailand monks are getting a crash-course in nutrition

Monks in Thailand, beset by obesity and diabetes, are getting a crash course in healthy eating from the government in an attempt to reverse years of poor nutrition and ballooning waistlines.

Buddhist monks are required to beg for their sustenance; in Thailand they collect alms from the public in the form of food. Those offerings in recent years have skewed toward unhealthy, processed, calorie-rich food. The monks have also increasingly turned toward soda as a means of sustenance. The results have been more monastics suffering from more obesity and its attendant symptoms such as diabetes.

In response, the Thai government is dispatching “mobile medical units” to teach the monks about proper diet, exercise, and rest. The religious mendicants also receive blood tests and other checkup services.

One health official involved in the campaign says there has been “some progress” in changing the monks’ health for the better.