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    Chinese Office Workers Plagued by Bad Gastro Health, Survey Finds

    Poor diets and hectic work schedules are to be blamed for the health issues.
    Apr 10, 2023#labor#health

    Following a survey last month that revealed many Chinese officegoers were sleep deprived, a new finding now suggests that an increasing number of white-collar workers also suffer from various gastrointestinal issues.

    Some 73% of the 3,017 respondents in a new survey published Sunday said that they suffered from various stomach ailments, including indigestion, inflammation, and ulcers, and 94% had experienced bloating and heartburn, common symptoms of poor gastro health. The survey was conducted by domestic media outlet Southern Weekly and German pharmaceutical company Bayern, with 80% of the respondents born between 1980 and 1999.

    “(People) should acknowledge the fact that negative emotions can do harm to our stomach health,” the report said. “They should tackle both the mental and physical problems.”

    Gastrointestinal diseases, which may lead to gastric cancer, remain the third largest cause of cancer-related deaths in China, according to the National Cancer Center. In 2020, an estimated 373,000 people in China died from stomach cancer, accounting for nearly half of the death toll of the disease around the world, the British medical journal The Lancet said, citing data from the World Health Organization.

    Discomfort from gastrointestinal disorders was one of the top health issues among Chinese people in the past three years, according to a 2022 survey by domestic medical tech company DXY. Health experts have warned of their growing presence among young working adults in cities, where fast-paced and hectic work schedules are the norm.

    Chen Xinwei, an accountant at a private tech company in Shanghai, told Sixth Tone that she was diagnosed with chronic gastritis last year. The 26-year-old said the condition came on after she constantly skipped meals to meet deadlines.

    “It only started to get better when I realized I should let go of my obsession about becoming the perfect employee,” Chen told Sixth Tone, adding that abdominal pains and bloating gave her several sleepless nights. “I should care more about myself rather than the company.”

    On social media platform Douban, there are dedicated groups with thousands of people sharing common concerns. On Sunday, a related hashtag was trending on microblogging platform Weibo, where users shared their personal experiences and called for increased awareness of the issue.

    According to the survey released Sunday, some 82% of the respondents had misconceptions of gut health issues, with many of them ignoring mild abdominal pains.

    Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

    (Header image: A man eats at a canteen in Wuhan Optics Valley Software Park, Hubei province, July 14, 2014. VCG)