Shanghai workers in declining health
Lack of exercise, fatty diets and stress are to blame, report says
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.