Owing to our genetic predisposition to heart disease and diabetes, Indians have to put in much more physical activity to stay healthy than Europeans and Americans, said city doctors.
On Saturday, the British based medical journal, The Lancet, published a study that stated that more Indians are active than Europeans and Americans. The study was conducted by Dr L-Min Lee and five other researchers for the Lancet Physical Activity Series Working Group. According to the study, only 15.6 % of the Indian population is "inactive" as compared to 63.3% in UK and 40.5% in the US.
"Our body fat percentage and predisposition to diabetes by way of insulin resistance is much higher than the Caucasian population. We surely need to be more physically active as compared to them," said Dr P Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India, Delhi.
Doctors said that the level of inactivity in urban population is higher than that in rural population. "In my experience, the concept of physical activity is alien to most of us, unless forced upon us. A standard upper middle class executive does not even have 150 minutes per week of physical activity," said Dr Aashish Contractor, head of preventive cardiology, Asian Heart Institute.
Dr Contractor said the risk of physical inactivity starts during urban childhood. In a study he did in 2006, school children in Mumbai were found to be much less active as compared to their British and American counterparts.
Doctors said that as we slowly become more urbanised, our level of physical activity will reduce drastically.
"I see a lot of rural patients who are also not physically active. Earlier, people had to travel on foot to reach anywhere in the rural areas. These days, with development of infrastructure and purchasing power, people use motorbikes," said Dr Ajay Chaurasia, head of cardiology, Nair hospital.