Part of the problem stems from the tradition of offering alms to Buddhist monks, which is widely practiced in Thailand as way of demonstrating respect for monastics and as a means of earning karmic merit. In the early hours of the morning, across the country, monks walk through their local communities to collect offerings of food provided by lay Buddhists. Unfortunately, many of the offerings on which the monks subsist are loaded with sugar, fat, and oil, compounding the growing health crisis.
This is where tradition does not serve Buddhism. Today's dietary offerings are very compared to the food offerings made in the Buddha's time when food was more locally grown and consumed with added refined products. A more update practice of "gathering" can be seen via Chinese Buddhist monks who carry begging bowls but, instead of depositing food items, supporters give money.
Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, with 93.2 per cent of the nation’s population of 69 million identifying as Buddhists, according to 2010 data from the Washington, DC-based Pew Research Center. The country has more than 40,000 Buddhist temples and some 300,000 monks.