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India's heart is at risk

Indians get their first heart attack at 53 - six years earlier than the world average of 59 years. And with the number of people over 65 years jumping from 4.4% in 2000 to 7.6% in 2025, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and other non-infectious diseases will become the country's major health challenges, warns a new World Bank report.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 08, 2011 22:19 IST
Sanchita Sharma

Indians get their first heart attack at 53 - six years earlier than the world average of 59 years.

And with the number of people over 65 years jumping from 4.4% in 2000 to 7.6% in 2025, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and other non-infectious diseases will become the country's major health challenges, warns a new World Bank report.

Rest of South Asia will continue to face heart problems as the leading cause of death in adults between 15 and 69 years, with people in the region getting their first heart attack six years earlier than people in other countries, said the report.

Non-infectious diseases account for 62% of the disease burden in India as compared to 38% from infections, nutrition deficiencies, and mother and child disorders.

Heart disease and injuries accounts for 12% of the country's disease burden.

"Low birth weight -less than 2.5 kg, which affects almost one in four newborns in India - is a major risk factor for multiple heart diseases, such as obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes," said Dr K Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India.

The report, called Capitalising on the Demographic Transition: Tackling Noncommunicable Diseases in South Asia, says growth in the region is not inclusive.

Despite an yearly average growth of 6% over the last 20 years, it has not improved the health of the poor.

A sharp rise in non-infectious diseases that cause disability and early death will hit poor families the hardest, worsening their poverty.

The report recommends strategies like Food labelling, tobacco control through advertising and health warnings, and stronger injury control policies to lower road traffic accidents.