Any society and organization can benefit only when its constituent people remain healthy and fit. The health of the organization is the composite health of its workers and employees. Similarly, a society remains healthy only if members of that society remain healthy too.
Of late, health has become a worrying factor in India. Incidences like obesity, heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension are now common. Earlier, India faced a threat from communicable diseases like cholera, jaundice, and typhoid. However, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyle in many parts of India has increased the likely hood of non-communicable diseases like ischemic heart disease, stroke and cancer amongst the urban population.
The main reasons for this shift are attributable to a number of factors. These include rapid urbanization due to unplanned industrialization, growing popularity of junk food, sedentary lifestyle, and consumption of foods rich in fats but low in protein, and others.
India is already the diabetes capital of the world with more than 40 million patients in the country. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the number of diabetic patients in India increased from around 19 million in 1995 to around 40.9 million in 2007. This figure is projected to increase to around 69.9 million by 2025. At present, approximately 11 percent of India’s urban population and about 3 percent of rural population who are more than 15 years old suffer from this disease.
Another worrying aspect is the quality of health of the Indian workforce. A recent study conducted by the World Health Organization has discovered that around 47% of the work force in urbanized industrial situations is overweight. Around 27 percent of those surveyed suffer from hypertension and around 10 percent are diabetic. The study discovered that workers are at a greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
Obesity is also a major stepping-stone to such diseases. The risk of obesity is currently very high in India. According to Dr Umesh Kapil, professor of human nutrition at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, the risk of obesity in the country is found to be the highest in the 20% of the population consuming 80% of dietary fat. Moreover, other surveys conducted in schools have discovered that 30% of adolescents from the country's higher economic groups are obese.
At the same time, Indians have a genetic predisposition to such diseases. The accumulated loss of income as a result is predicted is around $54 billion by 2015 due to unhealthy life styles and flawed diets. This prediction is alarming, considering the fact that India is trying to establish itself as a leading player in the global economy.
Currently, more than six million people in India suffer from coronary artery disease and more than five million people suffer from rheumatic heart disease. The health scenario in the country is quite alarming, yet the effects of such health matters are controllable by regulating diet, proper exercise, eating more cereals and fibre, consuming less fat, and eating more fruits and vegetables. Although Indians consume more cereal, the consumption of fruit is abysmally low at 150 grams per day as compared to the recommended 400 grams.
Changing trends indicate that many Indians are reacting to this problem. Many people are now including exercises as part of their daily routines. The media is generating a lot of awareness about this problem. People are undertaking yoga instructions, joining gyms and are doing various forms of exercise. A lot of health related equipment is also available in the market and these have now gained immense popularity too.