Advocacy for Meatless Monday Urged

Advocates of the local “Luntiang Lunes” (Meatless Monday) campaign urged Monday the organizers of this year’s International Contact Centers Conference and Expo to consider including in its agenda a discussion on how to safeguard the health of call center agents around the world.

They issued the call in time for the scheduled holding of the call centers’ international summit in Manila Tuesday.

Dr. Custer Deocaris, balik-scientist awardee of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and the proponent of the vegetarian campaign “Luntiang Lunes,” said that while the call center industry contributes a lot to economic growth, the health of workers, who are prone to contract diseases due to their work schedules, should be safeguarded.

“I wish to urge our Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) to consider adopting Luntiang Lunes (or Meatless Monday), which aims to cut down on meat consumption and increase intake of our indigenous vegetables and brown rice to help lower the abnormally high risk of metabolic diseases among our call center agents,” he said.

He noted that for years, scientists have known that people who work night shifts are unusually prone to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and obesity. “We should thus start regarding night shift work as an occupational hazard. “Our call center industry is one of the major segments that contribute to the economic growth of the country.,” the DoST balik-scientist said

He explained that while call center agents work in defiance of their respective circadian clock, their daily grinds render adverse effects on their physiological processes.

“All organisms are gifted with biological clocks. These clocks have evolved billions of years in parallel with the geophysical history of our planet. Circadian clocks help allow to anticipate and ‘prepare for’ predictable environmental changes, such as food availability, thereby increasing one’s fitness. When our activities are not synchronized with our circadian clock, or when there is circadian misalignment happens, a lot of metabolic processes will go haywire,” Deocaris said.

“Circadian rhythms affect physiological processes, such as hormonal secretion and metabolic activities and even behaviors. The central clock that controls the circadian rhythms is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of our brain,” he added.

Citing a scientific study, he said people who work on a 28-hour cycle, tend to produce very little leptin, a hormone secreted by our adipose (fat) tissues to tell the body to stop eating by triggering feelings of satiety.

Deocaris added they are prone to diabetes with elevated blood glucose and insulin, and high blood pressure. On top of this, he said, these workers run the risk of having chronically high stress levels because of increased levels of hormone cortisol.

“The study explains well why shift work also increases food intake of our call center agents As most of our agents are young and have money to spend, what happens if their work environment is surrounded by fast food chains?,” he noted, adding that call centers should help their workers to increase the intake of vegetables, fruits and brown rice in place of meat.

Source: Manila Bulletin
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