Thailand - A weight control campaign has been organised during the three month Buddhist Lent, between August 3 and October 30, with the aim of reducing obesity among Thai people.
Some 17 million are considered grossly overweight, ranking the Kingdom fifth in the Asia Pacific region.
The Public Health Ministry, which raised the idea, said weight reduction would be carried out as a way to make merit during the Buddhist holy period, at the minimum rate of four kilos per month for each person.
Deputy permanent secretary Sophon Mekthon said a target of reducing 10,000 tonnes in body weight had been set, with the figure measured in monetary tokens totalling Bt1 million in a fund set up by the ministry.
In addition to 17 million Thai people regarded as being obese, there are around 4 million each year with a tendency to becoming fat and obese. Obesity has cost the government Bt100 billion (S$4 billion) each year in treatment costs, said Dr Sophon.
The money will go to Buddhist charity projects with many temples and the campaign is expected to see 10 million people taking part, he said.
Applications can be made at the provincial public health offices and ministryrun clinics, through a website www.xn72cmtug6clr2a1a3d0d7ke.com, whose URL is in Thai words, and through written applications addressed to the Public Health Ministry.