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Overweight Thai cops sent to boot camp

By Thanyarat Doksone

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:58 a.m. HST, Jul 05, 2013

BANGKOK >> On a break from fighting crimes and handling traffic jams, potbellied policemen in Bangkok are combating another enemy: obesity.

While not much can be done about the clogged roads, an effort is under way to whip Thailand's potbellied policemen into shape with the start of a 12-day boot camp this week.

About 60 overweight officers from around the country are taking part in the program, which includes dawn-to-dusk exercise and lectures on healthy living at a police training center in suburban Bangkok.

Wearing T-shirts with the slogan: "Get rid of the belly," they start their days with pre-dawn jogs followed by yoga, aerobic dance classes, tai chi to reduce stress and improve blood flow, and lectures from nutritionists and trainers.

The biggest weight loser at the end of the program wins 5,000 baht ($160), a bonus for underpaid police officers though many say their real motivation is the chance to improve their health.

"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 Sgt. Maj. Wanchat Phonorthong, 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," he said.

Annual checkups last year for Thailand's 200,000 police officers showed that the five most common concerns were obesity, high cholesterol, liver problems, high blood pressure 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 Col. Pornpen Bunnag, who designed the course and heads the Family Medicine Department at Bangkok's Police General Hospital.

"Not only that," she said. "Their potbellies make them look less sharp in their uniforms."

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rhs763 wrote:
HPD could/should be doing the same for its members!
on July 5,2013 | 06:02AM
mikethenovice wrote:
I was waiting at the Alakea St/Hotel St. bus stop, when Honolulu's finest in uniform(police) was smoking a cigarette.
on July 5,2013 | 05:06PM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Chief Kealoha should consider this for his own troops. When you can' see your gunbelt because your gut is hanging over it, it's time for some serious PT. HPD, it really doesn't impress the public to see a fat cop. Seriously!
on July 5,2013 | 06:13AM
mikethenovice wrote:
It's called the Costco belly.
on July 5,2013 | 05:06PM
tiwtsfm wrote:
If we sent all the overweight TSA agents to Camp we would have to shut down the airports of this country.
on July 5,2013 | 07:24AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Fat TSA cops would not be able to inspect the luggage because they can't see over their tummy.
on July 5,2013 | 05:07PM
screaming_banshee wrote:
More like the Sheriff's department. Maybe they will be able to catch the next escapee when the forget to 'follow protocol'.
on July 5,2013 | 08:00AM
false wrote:
I was waiting for someone to mention the Sheriff's department. They along with HPD wouldn't be a bad idea but I'm sure there will be some kind of union issue raised so I guess its not going to happen. LOL
on July 5,2013 | 12:58PM
mikethenovice wrote:
If it's downhill, they could just roll down the hill.
on July 5,2013 | 05:08PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Allie's coming. Wait for it...
on July 5,2013 | 11:34AM
false wrote:
Might be on summer break and back in N. Dakota. Let's see.
on July 5,2013 | 12:59PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Smartphones spreading throughout the world like wildfire. So addicting to stare at it.
on July 5,2013 | 05:04PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Staring at the phones doesn't burn enough calories. Have to find something to do that burns more cal.
on July 5,2013 | 05:10PM
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