Booze, obesity cause most early deaths among Thais

Booze, obesity cause most early deaths among Thais

BANGKOK - Excessive drinking of alcohol and obesity were among the leading causes of premature death among men and women in Thailand, according to a study released yesterday.

"Many [thousands of] people have died prematurely over the past few years," Professor Dr Veerasak Jongsuwiwatwong, a director of Research and Development Health of Southern Institute, said.

He presented his study yesterday at a seminar entitled "Disease and health burdens on the Thai population" held by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.

A study is conducted every five years by a team of strategic researchers from the International Health Policy Programme Thailand, aimed at developing indicators to estimate the disease and health burden carried by the Thai population. The team was supported by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation and National Health Security Office.

The latest study in 2009 showed that among 430,583 reported deaths, about 50,000 had died from chronic diseases caused by drinking alcohol and smoking. Another 35,000 died from coronary artery disease.

The study found that drinking alcohol was the leading cause of premature death among the male population, followed by smoking, high blood pressure, not wearing a helmet while riding motorcycles, and high cholesterol.

Among the female population, obesity was the first leading cause of death, followed by high blood pressure, unsafe sex, high cholesterol, and smoking.

The study also found that road accidents, violence, and HIV-infection were major causes of death among men aged between 15 and 29 years of age.

Meanwhile, unsafe sex, HIV infection, road accidents, and suicide were leading causes of death among women in the same age range.

When looking at the cause of death among the population aged between 30 to 59, the study found that road accidents were a leading cause of death among men and unsafe sex a major cause of death among women.

Among people over 60, chronic diseases were the major cause of death, the study showed.

Professor Dr Veerasak said this study would suggest the government should work to reduce alcohol and cigarette consumption among the population. The study also showed the government should control unhealthy food and beverage products that would affect people's health.

The government needed to improve safer transportation systems and people should have convenient pathways for walking or bicycling so they can exercise and enhance their well-being, he said.

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