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Spurt in lifestyle diseases among poor says study

An article in The Times of India yesterday highlighted a study which talks about a rapid increase of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among poor people. This study states what is already becoming well know- that now NCDs are no longer  a rich man’s disease and also what this implies for India.

Health experts say the causes for a rise in lifestyle ailments — diabetes, hypertension and heart disease — amongst the poor are more or less similar to those affecting the rich and middle-class, but in a different context. “Majority of people from the economically weaker sections eat junk food. Most of it is cooked in unhygienic conditions, but easily accessible and affordable. However, after a point of time, it leads to chronic heart ailments,” Dr. Deep Goel, director, bariatric surgery, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, said.”Most of these people consume more of carbohydrates, are obese but malnourished, and always deprived of key nutrients. In the past 10 years, cases of heart ailments in the economically weaker sections has almost doubled,” he added.

Researchers from PHFI, Imperial College London, Harvard University, Stanford University, Oxford University and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine conducted a study and pointed that majority of the NCDs are largely prevalent among the poor.They studied the WHO’s data of 12,0000 individuals from six states which reported on five NCDs – angina, hypertension, chronic lung diseases and asthma, vision problems and depression. The study pointed out that lifestyle diseases, largely prevalent among the economically weaker sections, are under-diagnosed or under-reported. According to PHFI, poor or delayed access to health care by poor further worsen their condition leading to premature death, disability and loss of income. There is an urgent need to make people from poor background understand the risk factors of NCDs.

The study also indicated that rates of NCDs are projected to increase dramatically in India and other low-and-middle income countries over the next two decades. The study projected millions of deaths and huge loss of national income due to lost production and health care costs.

To read this article, click here

This study was also mentioned in Business Standard.

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