Dr Kamron Chaisiri of the Public Health Ministry said more than 100,000 Thais died from non-contagious chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity in 2010 and 40 per cent of them were under 60 years old.
Seventeen million Thais aged under 15 are obese or suffer from metabolic syndrome – symptoms that lead to non-contagious chronic diseases.
He said these ailments cost Thailand about Bt300 billion in medical treatment each year.
The unfavourable health phenomenon prompted the Public Health Ministry to launch a hula-hoop campaign to urge people to exercise at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
The ministry also organised a mass hula-hoop exercise on the Rangsit campus of Thammasat University on Tuesday to set a new Guinness World Record. Nearly 5,000 people jointly hula-hooped in the event.