Shang­hai work­ers in de­clin­ing health

Lack of ex­er­cise, fatty di­ets and stress are to blame, re­port says

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By WU NI and WANG HONGYI in Shang­hai

About 94 per­cent of whitecol­lar work­ers in Shang­hai suf­fer from health prob­lems, a 12 per­cent­age points rise from five years ago, ac­cord­ing to a health re­port re­leased by the Shang­hai For­eign Ser­vice Co on Thurs­day.

The re­port was based on health sta­tis­tics from more than 400,000 white-col­lar work­ers who had med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions be­tween 2009 and 2013 through the com­pany, which spe­cialises in hu­man re­sources ser­vices.

Of the 76,500 white-col­lar work­ers who had check­ups through the com­pany last year, 94 per­cent had ab­nor­mal re­sults that re­quired fur­ther test­ing or treat­ment. In 2009, 82 per­cent showed ab­nor­mal­i­ties in check­ups.

Fatty liver, hy­per­lipi­demia and hy­pe­r­uricemia were the top three con­di­tions found in male white-col­lar work­ers, an in­di­ca­tion that young peo­ple are in­creas­ingly at risk from car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases, the re­port said.

Ex­cess body fat has be­come the most ob­vi­ous health prob­lem among white-col­lar male work­ers. While only 11 per­cent were over­weight in 2009, the fig­ure rose to nearly 40 per­cent in 2013.

The re­sults were echoed by another re­port the city’s health depart­ment re­leased in 2012, which showed 40 per­cent of adults in Shang­hai were over­weight or obese, and a quar­ter of res­i­dents weren’t get­ting suf­fi­cient ex­er­cise.

For fe­male white-col­lar work­ers, hy­per­pla­sia of the mam­mary glands was the top threat. Health checks in 2013 showed nearly 80 per­cent of fe­male white-col­lar work­ers suf­fered from the cel­lu­lar con­di­tion, a sharp rise from the 36.5 per­cent in 2009.

The re­port at­trib­uted the health prob­lems to lack of ex­er­cise, the pres­sures of a heavy work­load, sit­ting for long hours at a desk and fatty diet among white-col­lar work­ers.

A Shang­hai Health

Pro­mo­tion Com­mit­tee sur­vey of about 8,600 res­i­dents aged 18 and older in 2012 showed the par­tic­i­pants spent on av­er­age 3.9 hours a day sit­ting with­out any sig­nif­i­cant phys­i­cal move­ment.

Yang Jun, a 28-year-old em­ployee of a for­eign ad­ver­tis­ing agency in Shang­hai, said her an­nual phys­i­cal check­ups have con­tin­u­ally found ab­nor­mal thy­roid and mam­mary gland re­sults, but she could not find ways to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion.

“I did fur­ther med­i­cal tests. The doc­tor sug­gested I pay at­ten­tion to my diet, but I didn’t need to take medicine. Now I eat a light diet, but my test re­sults still haven’t reached the nor­mal range,” she said.

Yang con­fessed she felt stressed at work and some­times would lose her tem­per in the of­fice. She tried to re­lieve the pres­sure by play­ing bad­minton but couldn’t keep a reg­u­lar sched­ule.

Ma Peimei, an ad­min­is­tra­tive di­rec­tor of a law firm in Shang­hai, said she suf­fered from sleep prob­lems, al­though her health check re­port showed nor­mal re­sults.

“Some­times I wake up in the mid­dle of the night for no rea­son and can’t fall asleep again un­til two or three hours later,” she said.

Ma said her col­leagues also had health prob­lems. Af­ter the an­nual health check­ups, the law firm would in­vite med­i­cal ex­perts to help the staff re­solve their health prob­lems, but few col­leagues would at­tend.

“Maybe they didn’t think their prob­lems were se­ri­ous if their test re­sults weren’t far from the nor­mal range,” she said.

“Fast-paced liv­ing and work pres­sure have re­sulted in more and more young peo­ple liv­ing phys­i­cally and men­tally un­healthy lives, and the prob­lem de­serves more at­ten­tion,” said Liang Ningjian, a psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor at East China Nor­mal Univer­sity in Shang­hai.

“Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise and re­lax­ation helps to ease the body and the mind, as well as reg­u­late emo­tions.” Con­tact the writ­ers at wuni@chi­


Visi­tors to the Happy Val­ley amuse­ment park in Shang­hai take part in a pil­low fight at a stress-relief event. Work-re­lated stress is a ma­jor cause of health prob­lems among the city’s white-col­lar work­ers, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

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