Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Worker nutrition poor: study

Worker nutrition poor: study

Garment factory workers purchase food from a stall in Kampong Cham’s Cheng Prey district in 2014.
Garment factory workers purchase food from a stall in Kampong Cham’s Cheng Prey district in 2014. Vireak Mai

Worker nutrition poor: study

New research released last week shows that nearly a third of female garment workers were underweight and more than a quarter were anaemic, with one physician saying yesterday that this increased their risk of exhaustion and fainting on the factory floor.

The study was published by researchers at the Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany and found that of the 223 young and nulliparous – women who haven’t borne children – female garment workers surveyed at a factory in Phnom Penh, 31.4 percent were underweight and 26.9 percent anaemic.

“Although most underweight workers showed mild underweight . . . the term ‘mild’ in this classification should not veil the serious consequences of it,” the study reads.

While the research does not detail these consequences, it does cite poor nutrition as one of the causes. Despite earning an average of $190 a month, including overtime and bonuses, workers were sending upwards of $100 a month to their families in the provinces and spending only $1.50 a day on food.

William Conklin, director of labour advocacy group Solidarity Center, agreed that there were high expectations from workers to send as much of the salary back home as possible, often resulting in sacrifices on things like food spending.

Chap Modich, a physician at the privately run Mercy Medical Center in Phnom Penh, said factory working conditions – hot and poorly ventilated – often exacerbated the health threats of anaemia and being underweight. “Some of these places are not ventilated and there is no air flow,” he said. “The risks are then low oxygen supply, and then they feel dizziness and fatigue.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Breaking: US House passes 'Cambodia Democracy Act'

    The US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on Monday, passed the “HR 526 Cambodia Democracy Act”, also known as the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019. If signed off by the president, the bill will allow two major sets of action to be taken against high-ranking Cambodian

  • ‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

    Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has blamed “zero-dollar” tour operators for the decrease in foreign tourists to Angkor Archaeological Park in the first half of this year and has called for action against them. Angkor Archaeological Park received 1.24 million foreign visitors in the first half

  • Some jobs off limits to foreigners from August

    Beginning from the second week of August, foreigners will be banned from driving taxis and tuk-tuks, as well as being motorcycle delivery drivers, street food vendors, hairdressers and product distributors among other lower-income jobs. Some white-collar jobs such as the head of human resources will

  • Chinese-owned shops are on the rise in central Phnom Penh

    Informal businesses owned by Chinese nationals are on the rise in central Phnom Penh, especially in Tonle Bassac commune, surrounding Koh Pich. Such businesses have sprung up notably in Central Market, Orussey Market, Sovanna Shopping Mall, Rattana Plaza, as well as Kakab commune across from