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

  • Hun Sen ready to ‘break record’, says Rainsy lost

    Caretaker prime minister Hun Sen used a meeting with 18,400 factory workers on Wednesday to predict that he would beat the record for being the world’s longest-serving non-royal leader. He also used the platform to slam political opponent Sam Rainsy who he said had lost

  • Sihanoukville land prices skyrocketing amid breakneck development

    Sihanoukville, the Kingdom’s most famous beach destination for tourists, is seemingly becoming a paradise for Chinese investors as well. The huge influx of Chinese investors has caused property values to rise, especially the price of land, which has nearly doubled in some places near

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by