PHNOM PENH, September 30 (Khmer Times) – Nearly 44 percent of garment workers suffer from anemia and about 16 percent are underweight, according to a new study released Monday.
Anxiety about their food supply was found to be surprisingly high among garment workers. Only one third of workers met the definition of “food secure” according to the study.
The study also found garment workers spend approximately $9 a week on food, or $1.30 a day.
“Anemia and food insecurity can contribute to wide ranging health problems for workers,” said Jill Tucker, programme manager for Better Factories Cambodia.
“Anemia often leads to chronic fatigue, difficulty concentrating and low productivity. Addressing these anemia levels will be complex, but is key to improving productivity and business outcomes in the garment sector.”
Four thousand Cambodian garment workers were surveyed for the study “on the impact of food provision on garment workers’ health and productivity.”
The study was a joint effort of the International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia project, Agence Francaise de Developpement, and Angkor Research and Consulting Ltd.
The study involved 10 garment factories that employ 13,300 garment workers and assessed the impact of food provision on workers’ health and productivity.
“The next phase of research will help to explain what interventions are the most effective in improving worker health and productivity, but factories can take measures now to reduce anemia,” said Ms. Tucker.