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Thai Policemen To Start 12 Day Weight-Loss Program

Update Date: Jul 05, 2013 11:10 AM EDT
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The American stereotype that cops love donuts is well known by all. Policemen who are overweight or obese are often made fun of due to the fact that the public must rely on cops to be able to chase down criminals and being heavy can make that task difficult. Although there is a fair share of overweight cops in America, this is not the only country to deal with an obesity issue in a profession that should ideally be healthy. On the other side of the world in Thailand, heavy cops can be spotted as well. However, these cops are going to get a makeover soon as the country jumpstarts its 12-day weight-loss program.

Although 12 days is not enough time to lose weight, this program aims to educate Thai policemen on how to lose weight efficiently and adopt a healthier lifestyle. The program has recruited around 60 policemen throughout the country who are overweight. Located in suburban Bangkok, the boot camp involves dawn to dusk activities as well as educational lectures. The policemen will wake up to a predawn jog, followed by a yoga class. After that, there are aerobic dance classes and tai chi to help relieve stress and improve blood flow. At the end of the day, the cops will listen to lectures given by nutrition experts and trainers.

At the end of this 12-day program, the cop that loses the most weight will earn a bonus of 5,000 baht, which is equivalent to $160. Although this money incentive is a good motivation tactic for these often underpaid cops, many of them are happy to get help on losing weight.

 "The school children call me 'Uncle Fat' all the time, but I don't mind. I'm more concerned about my health, because I have diabetes," said Sergeant Major Wanchat Phonorthong according to The Washington Post. Phonorthong is a 49-year-old traffic officer who weighs 133 kilograms (293 pounds) and is 185 centimeters (six feet) tall. "I'm going to lose some of my belly because they have me work out every day and they only give me half the food I usually eat. It's torture but I have to do it for myself."

This program was jumpstarted after the country evaluated the health of 200,000 policemen. Out of this group of cops, the five most common illnesses included obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, liver issues and diabetes.

 "Police officers tend to have higher health risks than some other professions because they don't eat and sleep on a normal schedule. Eating at the end of late-night shifts, drinking and smoking all contribute to their obesity," said Colonel Pornpen Bunnag, who designed the course and heads the Family Medicine Department at Bangkok's Police General Hospital. "Not only that...their potbellies make them look less sharp in their uniforms."

The program has comically addressed the issue of potbellies by creating t-shirts that read, "Get rid of this belly." 

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