• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
  • Actions
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Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:19,181
Area covered:National
References:Wichai Aekplakorn, Rungkarn Inthawong, Pattapong Kessomboon, et al., “Prevalence and Trends of Obesity and Association with Socioeconomic Status in Thai Adults: National Health Examination Surveys, 1991–2009,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2014, Article ID 410259, 8 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/410259
Notes:In this graph, overweight refers to BMI 25–<30, and obesity as BMI ≥30 kg/m2
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2004

Survey type:Measured
Age:18+
Sample size:39290
Area covered:National
References:Aekplakorn W and Mo-Suwan L. (2009). National prevalence of obesity. Prevalence of obesity in Thailand. Obesity Reviews, 10: 589 - 592.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:19+
Sample size:7279
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2000

Survey type:Measured
Age:35+
Sample size:5350
References:http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph/files/fnri%20files/nns/factsandfigures2003/anthropometric.pdf last accessed June 14th 2011
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1997

Survey type:Measured
Age:20-59
Sample size:3220
References:Aekplakorn W, Chaiyapong Y, Neal B, Chariyalertsak W, Kunanusont C, Phoolcharoen W, Suriyawongpaisal P. Prevalence and Determinants of Overweight and Obesity in Thai Adults: Results of the Second National Health Examination Survey. J Med Asssoc Thai 2004;87(6):685-93
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1985

Survey type:Measured
Age:35-54
Sample size:3495
References:Tanphaichitr V, Kulapongse S, Pakpeankitvatana R, et al. Prevalence of obesity and its associated risks in urban Thais. In: Oomura Y, Tarui S, Inoue S, Shimazu T, eds. Progress in obesity research, 1990 London: Libbey, 1991:649-53
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2016

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:1749
Area covered:Regional
References:Nonboonyawat T, Pusanasuwannasri W, Chanrat N, Wongthanavimok N, Tubngern D, Panutrakul P, Mungthin M, Nivesvivat T, Hatthachote P, Rangsin R, Piyaraj P. (2019) 'Prevalence and associates of obesity and overweight among school-age children in a rural community of Thailand.' Korean J Pediatr. doi: 10.3345/kjp.2018.06499.
Notes:WHO cut-offs used.
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2015

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:13-17
Sample size:5894
Area covered:National
References:Global School-based Student Health Survey Thailand 2015 Fact Sheet https://www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/gshs/2015-Thailand-GSHS-Fact-Sheet.pdf?ua=1 (last accessed 24.11.20)
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2008

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:13-15
Sample size:2767
Area covered:National
References:Global School-based Student Health Survey Thailand 2008 Fact Sheethttps://www.who.int/ncds/surveillance/gshs/2008_Thailand_fact_sheet.pdf?ua=1 (last accessed 24.11.20)
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:3-18
Sample size:9287
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 1997

Survey type:Measured
Age:5-15
Sample size:1290
Area covered:Regional
References:Mo-Suwan L, Tongkumchum P, Puetpaiboon A. Determinants of overweight tracking from childhood to adolescence: a 5 y follow-up study of Hat Yai schoolchildren. International Journal of Obesity (2000) 24, 164-1647
Notes:Urban 85th Centile NHANES
Cutoffs:Other

Children, 1992

Survey type:Measured
Age:5-16
Sample size:2252
Area covered:Regional
References:Mo-suwan L, Tongkumchum P and Puetpaiboon A. Determinants of overweight tracking from childhood to adolescence: a 5 year follow up study of Hat Yai schoolchildren. IJO 2000;24:1642-1647
Notes:Hat Yai municipality, southern Thailand Child Cut-Off point: 85th Centile NHANES (see paper for further details)
Cutoffs:Other

Overweight/obesity by education

Men, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:19,181
Area covered:National - URBAN
References:Wichai Aekplakorn, Rungkarn Inthawong, Pattapong Kessomboon, et al., “Prevalence and Trends of Obesity and Association with Socioeconomic Status in Thai Adults: National Health Examination Surveys, 1991–2009,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2014, Article ID 410259, 8 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/410259
Notes:Prevalence of Overweight & Obesity by Education in Urban Areas In this graph, overweight refers to BMI 25–<30, and obesity as BMI ≥30 kg/m2
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:19,181
Area covered:National - URBAN
References:Wichai Aekplakorn, Rungkarn Inthawong, Pattapong Kessomboon, et al., “Prevalence and Trends of Obesity and Association with Socioeconomic Status in Thai Adults: National Health Examination Surveys, 1991–2009,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2014, Article ID 410259, 8 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/410259
Notes:Prevalence of Overweight & Obesity by Education in Urban Areas In this graph, overweight refers to BMI 25–<30, and obesity as BMI ≥30 kg/m2
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:19,181
Area covered:National - RURAL
References:Wichai Aekplakorn, Rungkarn Inthawong, Pattapong Kessomboon, et al., “Prevalence and Trends of Obesity and Association with Socioeconomic Status in Thai Adults: National Health Examination Surveys, 1991–2009,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2014, Article ID 410259, 8 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/410259
Notes:Prevalence of Overweight & Obesity by Education in Rural Areas In this graph, overweight refers to BMI 25–<30, and obesity as BMI ≥30 kg/m2
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:19,181
Area covered:National - RURAL
References:Wichai Aekplakorn, Rungkarn Inthawong, Pattapong Kessomboon, et al., “Prevalence and Trends of Obesity and Association with Socioeconomic Status in Thai Adults: National Health Examination Surveys, 1991–2009,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2014, Article ID 410259, 8 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/410259
Notes:Prevalence of Overweight & Obesity by Education in Rural Areas In this graph, overweight refers to BMI 25–<30, and obesity as BMI ≥30 kg/m2
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:7279
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:9287
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by region

Men, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:19,181
Area covered:National
References:Wichai Aekplakorn, Rungkarn Inthawong, Pattapong Kessomboon, et al., “Prevalence and Trends of Obesity and Association with Socioeconomic Status in Thai Adults: National Health Examination Surveys, 1991–2009,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2014, Article ID 410259, 8 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/410259
Notes:In this graph, overweight refers to BMI 25–<30, and obesity as BMI ≥30 kg/m2
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:20+
Sample size:19,181
Area covered:National
References:Wichai Aekplakorn, Rungkarn Inthawong, Pattapong Kessomboon, et al., “Prevalence and Trends of Obesity and Association with Socioeconomic Status in Thai Adults: National Health Examination Surveys, 1991–2009,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2014, Article ID 410259, 8 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/410259
Notes:In this graph, overweight refers to BMI 25–<30, and obesity as BMI ≥30 kg/m2
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:19+
Sample size:7279
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:19+
Sample size:7279
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:19+
Sample size:7279
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:19+
Sample size:7279
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Boys, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:3-18
Sample size:9287
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Cutoffs:IOTF

Girls, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:3-18
Sample size:9287
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Cutoffs:IOTF

Boys, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:3-18
Sample size:9287
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Cutoffs:IOTF

Girls, 2003-2005

Survey type:Measured
Age:3-18
Sample size:9287
Area covered:National
References:Jitnarin N, Kosulwat V, Rojroongwasinkul N et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Thai population: Results of the National Thai Food Consumption Survey. 2011;16:e242-e249
Cutoffs:IOTF

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Children, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Boys, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Girls, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Average daily frequency of carbonated soft drink consumption

Children, 2014-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption

Children, 2008-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Global School-based Student Health Surveys. Beal et al (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287. Sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption (% less-than-daily fruit consumption)

Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption

Children, 2008-2015

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption (% less-than-daily vegetable consumption)

Average weekly frequency of fast food consumption

Children, 2014-2015

Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: Upper Middle Income

Health systems summary

Thailand has a pluralistic health system that involves both public and private providers and financing bodies (although most care is delivered by the public system). By law, all Thai citizens must be a member of a social health protection scheme and so universal health coverage was reached by 2002. There are three health insurance schemes, membership of which is typically dependent on type of employment. The Servant Medical Benefit Scheme covers central government employees and the Social Security Scheme covers private employees. Most people, however, are covered by the Universal Coverage Scheme that covers those that work in the informal sector. The latter scheme is financed by general taxation, does not rely on contributions from members and covers approximately 72% of the population. Over the past two decades, public expenditure on health has increased significantly and out of pocket payments as a percentage of total health spending has fallen to 12.4%. There has also been a reduction in catastrophic health spending and medical impoverishment.

Current challenges include the continued financing of the primarily tax-financed health system. As a large proportion of the population live in poverty and contribute little, there is widespread concern that the status quo is not sustainable.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Defined as disease
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?Not known
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?Yes
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?Yes
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?Some progress
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?Yes
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Out of pocket

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • High cost of out of pocket payments
  • Poor availability of pharmaceutical treatments
  • Obesity considered an aesthetic issue

Summary of stakeholder feedback

Obesity is high on the government’s agenda in Thailand and is increasingly being prioritised. There has been several healthy lifestyle campaigns and public awareness drives alongside clear policies ambitions from the Ministry of Health. Preventative action on obesity includes both the introduction of a sugar tax and mandatory food labelling.

While it is felt that most healthcare professionals believe obesity to be a disease, this appears not to extend to the insurers as there is limited to no reimbursement for obesity treatment. It appears that only lifestyle and behavioural treatment is covered by public insurance and so most obesity treatment received is paid for out of pocket.

Stakeholders reported that there is a sufficient number of obesity treatment professionals in urban areas, but less so in rural areas. Stakeholders noted, however, that there are no guidelines in place for these professionals to follow. A literature search found 2014 obesity guidelines for children by the Royal College of Paediatricians but it appears that there are not well-versed with the public as the stakeholders were not aware of it.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 3 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

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Thai Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Consensus Guideline on Bariatric Surgery for the Treatment of Obese Patient in Thailand

Currently unable to access document

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Year(s):2020 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Thai Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
Find out more:www.jmatonline.com
References:Techagumpuch A, Pantanakul S, Chansaenroj P, Boonyagard N, Wittayapairoch J, Poonthananiwatkul T, Chanswangphuvana P, et al. Thai Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Consensus Guideline on Bariatric Surgery for the Treatment of Obese Patient in Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai 2020;103:300-7.

Sugar tax on beverages

Excise sugar tax on certain beverages to reduce consumption of sugar and to increase health consciousness. Beverages with >6g sugar per 100ml targeted.

Categories:Taxation/Subsidies on Food or Beverages or law relating to public health
Year(s):2017 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Thai Excise Department
Find out more:gain.fas.usda.gov
Linked document:Download linked document
References:USDA Foreign Agricultural service (2017). Global agricultural information network. Available from: https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Thai%20Excise%20Department%20Implements%20New%20Sugar%20Tax%20on%20Beverages_Bangkok_Thailand_10-17-2017.pdf. [Accessed 14 December 2018].

Food-based dietary guidelines for infants and young children in Thailand.

To guide people how to 1. Eat a variety of foods from each of the five food groups and maintain a proper weight. 2. Eat adequate amounts of rice or alternate carbohydrate sources. 3. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits regularly. 4. Eat fish, lean meat, eggs, legumes and pulses regularly. 5. Drink in appropriate quality and quantity for one’s age. 6. Eat a diet containing appropriate amounts of fat. 7. Avoid sweet and salty foods. 8. Eat clean and safe foods. 9. Avoid or reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Year(s):2010 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Ministry of Health with the assistance of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, the Nutrition Institute, nutrition associations and universities.
Find out more:www.fao.org

Smart Kids Camp

An intervention to improve physical activity and promote healthy behaviour among school-aged children

Categories (partial):Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Year(s):2010 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Bureau of Nutrition
Find out more:nutrition.anamai.moph.go.th

Thailand Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative - Thai Pledge

The aim of the Thai Pledge, made by leading multinational companies in Thailand, is to "support the industry's ongoing efforts to support parents in making the right diet and lifestyle choices for their children."

Year(s):2008 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:The International Food & Beverage Alliance
Find out more:ifballiance.org
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Information provided with kind permission of The International Food & Beverage Alliance: www.ifballiance.org

The Pak Poon Model

It comprises early childhood development programs, support units for disabled children, alternative learning programs for drop-out students, programs oriented to reducing obesity among children and ageing people, and programs to encourage people to live self-sufficiently by having their own gardens.

Categories:Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Year(s):2008 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Thai Health / Pak Poon
Linked document:Download linked document

Food-based dietary guidelines for Thailand

The Thai food guide is a hanging flag, known as ‘the nutrition flag’. The four layers in the nutrition flag denote the type and amount of the food groups that are recommended for consumption. To achieve a healthy food intake and control the obesity prevalence.

Categories:Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Year(s):1998 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Ministry of Health with the assistance of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, the Nutrition Institute, nutrition associations and universities.
Find out more:www.fao.org
Linked document:Download linked document

Obesity and complication management guideline

Document in Thai. Guidelines endorsed by Health System Research Institute

Categories:Evidence of Management/treatment guidelines
Target age group:Adults and children
Linked document:Download linked document

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