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

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The