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What’s to blame for poor muscle health in India?

Muscle health improves overall health and wellbeing.

One might think that muscle health is only a concern for those who lift weights at the gym. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Good muscle health is an important part of one’s overall well-being. Through muscle-strengthening exercises, one can improve their blood sugar control, metabolism, and broader physical and mental health.

As one gets older, good muscle health makes serious injury less likely. Good muscle health improves bone density and balance and reduces the risk of osteoporosis (where the bones become more fragile and therefore more likely to break). It also slows the onset of the muscle loss that naturally occurs with ageing.

“Good muscle health is an important part of one’s overall well-being”

Skeletal muscle diagram.

Muscle health is a significant concern for Indians, as a new study highlights. 71 percent of Indians suffer from poor muscle health according to research carried out by market research firm IPSOS and body composition analytics company InBody.

The research surveyed 1,243 people aged 30-55 from eight cities: Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Patna. A mixture of individuals in and out of work were included the sample.

Of the cities surveyed, Lucknow fares the worst. 81 percent of people there have poor muscle mass. Delhi fares the best, with 64 percent. However, it is worth noting that, in each of the cities surveyed, poor muscle mass affects the majority of the population. Nationwide, the study says, this translates to seven out of every ten Indians experiencing poor muscle health.

“71 percent of Indians suffer from poor muscle health”

One of the factors the study identifies as contributing to the nation’s poor muscle health is inadequate protein intake. 68 percent of Indians do not consume enough protein, the study claims.

This might be down to low awareness of one’s ideal protein intake which, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is one gram per kilogram of body weight. The Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) says that 93 percent of Indians are unaware of how much protein they should consume. As a result, 84 percent of vegetarian diets and 65 percent of non-vegetarian diets in the country are protein-deficient.

The above is concerning as it suggests that, as India’s population ages, more of its citizens will be susceptible to serious injury. Exacerbating the situation is the increased uptake of sedentary lifestyles by Indians. Such lifestyles are believed to accelerate muscle loss as one ages.

The IDA says the need is to raise awareness of the importance of exercise and eating a protein-rich diet. This has the potential to improve muscle health – both in the short and long term.

The study can be accessed here.

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