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Too much work, no leisure makes us fat

health-and-fitness Updated: Aug 06, 2007 05:45 IST
Neha Bhayana
Neha Bhayana
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The city that never sleeps is also the one that does not eat on time, does not exercise regularly and never slows down.

Lifestyle diseases are, therefore, shooting up faster than the Sensex and ‘time poverty’ could now be killing more people in India’s financial capital than poverty itself.

Be it obesity or diabetes, cardiovascular or respiratory problems, insomnia or ulcers — Mumbaiiites are facing a range of physical and mental health problems due to their poor work-life balance.

Over 30 per cent of adults in urban India are seriously overweight. In 80 per cent of cases, obesity is related to lifestyle, said obesity surgeon Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, who is attached to Lilavati Hospital.

The HT C-fore survey found that 76 per cent of Mumbaiites did not think they had a good work life balance and 81 per cent did not have time for hobbies.

Lakdawala said this ‘money rich, time poor’ brigade is most at risk for obesity. “Top earners face up to a 40 per cent risk of becoming overweight and obese compared to a 10 per cent risk for those in the middle income group and two per cent for those living in poverty,” he said. To make matters worse, the extra layers of fat made one more susceptible to diabetes, cancer and cardiac problems, he added.

A frenetic daily schedule is testing the mental health of Mumbaiites increasingly. The HT survey found that 21 per cent had seen a doctor because of work-related stress. Psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria said a quarter of people who come to her were facing problems due to a skewed work–life balance. “Between working hard and partying harder there is little time for self,” she said.

Psychiatrist Harish Shetty said he was giving out more anti-depressants than before and added that the demand for mental health services in the metropolis was rising because workers’ demanding work lives were leaving them so stressed.

“This is a health issue that is being ignored in the same way that AIDS was ignored in India,” he said. “Globalisation has a partner and that is mental health professionals. There are not enough of us.”

(With inputs by Naomi Canton)