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Diocese acts to help overweight and stressed priests

Hong Kong Vicar General Fr Dominic Chan Chi-ming said Catholic doctors who have been checking priests and nuns have confirmed that many priests are overweight and suffer from heart disease because of lack of exercise.

At a priests´ health seminar that followed the diagnosis, two dietitians warned the priests, nun and cook participants against excessive cholesterol consumption. After the participants were weighed, they were served two kinds of healthy Chinese soup that could be part of their diets.

Kowloon parish priest Fr Simon Li Chi-yuen said he now weighs 87 kilograms, 23 more than when he was ordained in 1988. He recalled that when he was a seminarian, meal times were more regular and he played lots of sport. His cook Kitty Cheng said she learned at the seminar that she could help him by using healthier cooking oil and putting less salt in her preparations.

Fr Chan admitted he has added more than 10 kilograms in recent years, even though he exercises a lot by doing tai-chi, swimming and jogging, and maintains a balanced diet. Like many other priests, he said, the weight gain likely is due to often attending social functions involving restaurant foods that are "usually oily".

According to Fr Chan, nuns are less likely to suffer from stress or other health problems because they live in community and care for one another.

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Priest Health Board: Diocese of Madison (Wisconsin, USA)
The priesthood and stress (Southern Cross, South Africa)
Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong

3 Oct 2003