For centuries, mankind has spend days struggling to grow and find enough and adequate food and maintain a good nutritional status. Today, the availability of food, especially that with a high calorific value is not out of the domain of most of the population. In addition, the decrease in physical activity levels, due to the mechanisation of activities and chores, has led to a stark change in lifestyles.
The National Family Hea;th Survey 5 (NFHS 5) released last week shows how J&K’s adult men and women are running into the abyss of diseases due to the nutritional imbalances. In comparison to the last NFHS, carried out in year 2015-16, the nutritional status has only deteriorated.
Take for example the percentage of men who are over weight, that is, those having a Body-Mass Index (BMI) of over 25 is over 31 now. In pother words, almost every third adult male in J&K has an unhealthy body mass index, is on the path of obesity, a path that is leads to diabetes, hypertension and other diseases. The percentage of such males was 20 percent five years ago. In just five years, there is a 10 percent increase in the percenatage. The percentage of men with a high waist-to-hip ratio is 60.7 percent.
The percentage of women with an unhealthy waist-to-hip ratio is a whopping 87.8 percent. The waist-to-hip ratio is an indicator of fat distribution and having a high ratio is considered to be a higher risk of heart diseases and diabetes. On another parameter, nearly as many women have a 25 plus BMI as men, the prevalence of obesity also on similar patterns and worryingly high in both genders. It must be borne in mind that the survey has taken into account people aged 15 years to 49 years for the measurement of these variables.
The effects of these depreciating health indices is already visible. Nearly 16 percent men and women in J&K have elevated Blood Sugars. Nearly 35 percent adults (both genders) have mildly, moderately or severely elevated blood pressure. The prevalence of anemia among women is another cause if concern. Over 70 percent of women in J&K have low levels of hemoglobin, casting a shadow on their physical and mental well being.
The survey is just a mirror of the society and the population and must serve as a beginning for the policy makers in J&K to devise their healthcare and outreach activities. The awareness about lifestyle diseases, the benefits of a healthy and active life and the nutritional education and balanced meals is still an alien concept to most.
The world around us has moved beyond the management of infectious diseases. It is time, the healthcare system also wakes up and gears itself to put the scores of programs and schemes into action.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.