Chi­nese white-col­lar work­ers should pay at­ten­tion to health

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Qi Xi­jia Page Edi­tor: chen­[email protected]­al­

Mind what you have for din­ner, as we are about to take our an­nual phys­i­cal test, one of my col­leagues told me the other day. Yes, it’s again that time of the year for white-col­lar work­ers in Shang­hai to check-in with doc­tors for their yearly well­ness exam.

Ac­cord­ing to a new white-col­lar health in­dex re­port, in 2017 only 3 per­cent of all lo­cal work­ing class res­i­dents in Shang­hai passed their phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions with fly­ing col­ors, mean­ing 97 per­cent of work­ers in Shang­hai have health prob­lems, hit­ting a record high for the past five years. Over­weight, fatty liver and hem­or­rhoids are the most com­mon health prob­lems.

The re­port may come as a shock, but it re­veals the long-over­looked health man­age­ment that many white-col­lar types in China do not at­tach much im­por­tance to. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, only 30 per­cent eat three meals per day, and one out of four sur­veyed dine in restau­rants or eat take­out or fast food as op­posed to cook­ing at home. In terms of sleep, 76 per­cent sleep less than eight hours per day, and 80 per­cent said they suf­fer from sleep­ing prob­lems. In the as­pect of ex­er­cise, only 23 per­cent ex­er­cise three to four times a week.

The so-called “9-9-6” work­ing sched­ule, (9 am to 9 pm, 6 days a week) has de­prived many lo­cal res­i­dents of a healthy diet and reg­u­lar ex­er­cise. The typ­i­cal vi­cious cir­cle of a white-col­lar work day usu­ally be­gins as you wake up ex­hausted from stay­ing up late watch­ing TV, then rush to the of­fice on an empty stom­ach or maybe gulp­ing down some cof­fee, which is equally bad for you.

Af­ter three hours of work you grab a cheap, oily lunch or­dered from an on­line take­out plat­form, then nap at your desk. Af­ter sev­eral more hours of work, you go out for a cup of bub­ble tea, which is like liq­uid junk food, then rush to fin­ish your day’s dead­lines.

You join some friends for din­ner and drinks af­ter work, then climb into your bed with the sud­den re­al­iza­tion that you need some en­ter­tain­ment, so you browse WeChat or watch a soap opera. When you fi­nally put down your phone, it’s af­ter mid­night.

Though many peo­ple like me re­al­ize that this type of life­style is very harm­ful to our health in both the short and long run, when we are in our 20s we tend to take our ro­bust physiques for granted. It’s not un­til we turn 30 that it sud­denly hits us like a ton of bricks: we are fat, our faces are get­ting wrin­kles and our bod­ies are aching. We still might have time to cor­rect this, but most of us will con­tinue to pro­cras­ti­nate. By 40, it’s too late: this is what we will look like and how we will feel for­ever more.

A healthy life­style isn’t built overnight, but it doesn’t col­lapse overnight ei­ther. At work we are used to wait­ing un­til the last minute be­fore dead­line to get things done, but when it comes to health and well­ness, cross­ing that dead­line can be deadly. Eat health­ier, ex­er­cise reg­u­larly, get plenty of fresh air and sun­shine, and de­tach your­selves from your phones... be­fore it’s too late!

The opin­ions ex­pressed in this ar­ti­cle are the au­thor’s own and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of the Global Times.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Lu Ting/GT

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