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Survey: Majority of Chinese Journalists 'Sub-healthy'

A survey published ahead of the 9th national Journalists' Day, which falls on Saturday, found that 97.5 percent of media workers are "sub-healthy".

The results were based on analysis of 23,640 physical exam reports conducted by the Chinese Doctors' Association. The report might make the country's 1 million journalists less envied by people who coveted their exciting jobs, China Daily reported on Thursday. The medical profession defines sub-healthy as being in a poor physiological condition caused by chronic fatigue. Such people may be more prone to illness and disease, although there is no formal index for the measurement of the condition, the newspaper said.

Gao Li, a heavy-smoking reporter who has been with a sports daily for the past 12 years, said: "I definitely fall into the unhealthy group. I feel like I aged about 10 years because of an exhausting workload."

Gao said that from June to September, because of the Olympics, she had to work every weekend.

According to the association's report, media workers are 25 percent more likely to be in poor health than people in other social groups. Working overtime, having irregular eating patterns and disorderly daily routines, and failing to exercise can all contribute to spinal, digestive and cardiovascular problems, the research found.

"I feel like my immune system is getting weaker all the time," Wei Cheng, a senior editor with a Web-based news service, said.

A high percentage of journalists are heavy smokers, and a growing number are suffering from work-related stress and even depression, the report said.

Ren Xiaosong, a TV newsman from Beijing, said he always knew his choice of career meant "sacrificing" his health and a normal daily life.

"Time and again I've had to cancel my planned trips to the gym, because I was too busy chasing the news," he said.

Lu Xiao, a 26-year-old photo editor with a Beijing newspaper, said: "Women editors are under even more pressure. And the heavy workloads are definitely damaging to our health."

Despite the veterans' warnings, postgraduate journalism student Sun Meng said she is undeterred.

"Working in journalism might be unhealthy and even painful, but it's also very rewarding," she said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 9, 2008)

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