Report reveals Shanghai white collars’ physical examination abnormal rate reaches 99%
Published: Jan 06, 2021 02:53 PM

Young staff work overtime at night in the office. Photo: VCG


A health report on Shanghai white-collar workers became a trending topic on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Wednesday with it showing that, for Shanghai's office workers, the abnormal rate of physical examinations has astonishingly risen to nearly 99 percent, with fewer than two in every 100 office workers "completely healthy." 

Chinese workers' "poor" health condition and tech companies' toxic "996" work culture — which involves working from 9 am to 9 pm six days a week — have made waves in Chinese people's online discourse since the first workday of 2021 following the sudden death of a 23-year-old employee at China's e-commerce giant Pinduoduo, believed to be related to her overworking until 1:30 am on December 29, 2020. 

Many netizens advocated the local authorities to prohibit working overtime because many workers have faced overworking. 

One netizen commented that it is hard to say whether the current generation can expect to live longer than previous generations even with today's advanced medical science techniques, because many incurable diseases still exist, and postponing retirement will only make the situation worse. 

According to the 2019 Report on Shanghai White-collar Workers' Health Index jointly released by Shanghai Foreign Service (Group) Co. (FSG) and the Popular Medicine magazine, the abnormal rate of physical examinations for Shanghai's office workers rose to 98.75 percent in 2018 from 94 percent in 2013. 

In terms of genders, the top three health problems for women include bone rarefaction, Helicobacter pylori and chronic cervicitis, while the top three problems for men were increased blood viscosity, thyroid disorders and chronic pharyngitis. 

Research conducted by the FSG shows that unhealthy habits, such as staying up late, psychological pressure (mainly from work), and lack of exercise have become the major factors affecting white-collar workers' health in Shanghai. 

It is noteworthy that the youngest generation of the workforce who were born in the 1990s have also suffered from health issues such as skin problems, anxiety and depression, and intestine and stomach problems, according to a report on Chinese nationals' health released by in 2019.

A health consultant surnamed Cao at a local physical checkup center in Shanghai told the Global Times on Wednesday that according to her over 40 years' medical treatment experience in internal medicine, she advised office workers pay attention to their annual physical checkup and advocated for early detection and treatment of diseases. 

"The fundamental problem that causes people's sub-health problems and diseases is the lack of a regular work and rest schedule and unadjusted psychological problems, which stands out as a social problem," said Cao, who noted that unsolved psychological problems ultimately manifest themselves through physical illnesses.