Nearly 40 per cent of Mumbai’s BEST bus drivers and conductors could be suffering from hypertension (chronic high blood pressure).
Students of GS Medical College (attached to KEM Hospital) tested the blood pressure of 500 BEST employees at three bus depots this week and found that 200 were in the hypertensive or pre-hypertensive stage.
The first-year students conducted these tests as part of a project ‘Live tension-free’ to educate BEST employees about healthy living with the aim of preventing hypertension.
“Hypertension is a silent killer which leads to heart attacks and strokes. BEST is our city’s lifeline. We don’t want it to be diseased,” said project leader Bhushan Bhalgat.
The students said some conductors who were in their early 20s too had hypertension. “We have called the ones with high BP to KEM for treatment,” said Bhalgat, adding that they had organised yoga, laughter therapy and carrom sessions to de-stress employees.
Students from five other medical colleges — attached to JJ, Nair, Sion, MGM and Terna Hospitals — have also ‘adopted’ different communities like call centre employees, housewives and school children to help them lead healthier and disease-free lives.
The projects are being done for a contest — ‘helpyourbody Mumbai’ — organised by Piramal Healthcare.
Students from Navi Mumbai’s Terna Medical College conducted health check-ups of 440 call centre employees, aged 21 to 32 years, and found that nine per cent were obese, 22 per cent overweight, 25 per cent hypertensive and two per cent diabetic.
“We are encouraging them to use the stairs instead of taking the lift. We have also helped the canteen employees design a healthy menu,” said project co-ordinator Krishna Dubey.
The students have also undertaken a special anti-smoking drive as more than 60 per cent of the employees were addicted to nicotine.