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Clergy needs exercise, says priest

Health of religious in China 'has become cause for concern'

Seminarians playing basketball at Sheshan Seminary in Shanghai Seminarians playing basketball at Sheshan Seminary in Shanghai
  • China
  • September 22, 2011
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Unhealthy lifestyles make mainland clergy vulnerable to non-communicable diseases, which a UN meeting determined earlier this week to be the leading health threat for Chinese people.

Father Joseph, a doctor in northern China, said that mainland clergy are most vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which represent two of the leading non-communicable diseases, along with cancer and chronic respiratory illnesses.

The main problem, Father Joseph explained, was that priests do not get enough exercise.

“Some priests have little sense of evangelization. After the daily Mass, they go straight to their computers. By and by, even a healthy body cannot stand it.”

Father Joseph said that diets have improved but without proper exercise, priests could develop high blood pressure and other adverse health conditions that contribute to cardiovascular disease.

The health of the clergy and religious in China has become a source of concern since the deaths of a young bishop and bishop candidate, both in their 40s, earlier this year.

Father Paulus Gan, who says he exercises regularly, said other clergy and nuns “seldom do exercises because they are busy, unaccustomed to it or are already sick and cannot do so.”

Chinese Minister of Health Chen Zhu told the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday that more than 260 million Chinese suffer from non-communicable diseases, responsible for about 85 percent of all deaths in the country.

He further warned that such a high mortality rate could reduce the supply of labor for the country’s growing economy.

Father Joseph suggested that better health education among Church workers about common and chronic diseases would help improve the situation.

Related reports:

Second cleric death prompts concern
Bishop of Yichang dies, aged 45

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