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Poll: Work stress blamed for poor health
By Yin Ping (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-07 07:05

SHANGHAI: Liu Fang has been suffering from indigestion for two years and she says the illness sometimes causes her to throw up.

Liu, an executive assistant in her late 20s, attributed her pain to indiscriminating eating habits and an irregular lifestyle.

"I eat anything I can put into my mouth," she said. "I seldom care about its nutritional value."

Liu is typical of an increasing number of 30-ish white-collar Shanghainese.

The 51tijian Co Ltd, a Shanghai company that performs physical examinations, polled 24,000 people with an average age of 32 in the past year. The results indicate that more than half of them suffer from a wide variety of stomach ailments.

The survey was conducted among people working in education, finance, design, manufacturing and the information industry.

Results show that nutritional problems were most serious among sales, technical and marketing staff.

Although the survey itself may not mean much since men polled far outnumbered women at 61 per cent, it does sound an alarm on the health of the busiest group in the city.

Fu Hua, a professor at the Public Health School of Fudan University, said the poor health of the 30-ish people has become a serious problem in the city.

He said irregular eating habits and sitting for long periods are two major reasons because a lack of activity disrupts digestion.

But he pointed out that nervousness is the real culprit. Fu said the social environment, which emphasizes success and fortune, pushes these workers to get ahead and makes them nervous.

"It is sometimes inevitable when our economy is in a transitional period," he said. "But there is something we can do to improve the situation."

Enterprises are already addressing the situation. Joanne Liu, director of human resources for Texas Instruments Semiconductor Technologies (Shanghai) Co Ltd, said she is fully aware of the problem.

She said her company has been encouraging staff to balance their lives inside and outside the workplace.

(China Daily 01/07/2006 page2)

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