Lack of physical activity and lesser intake of fruits are taking a toll on the health of the residents of Punjab and making them more prone to non-communicable diseases (NCD) like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, etc, revealed a survey conducted by the PGIMER in some pockets of Punjab.
In 2014-2015, a total of 5,127 people in the age-group of 18-69 years were examined in a state-wide survey of NCD risk factors — mainly diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and chronic lung diseases — carried out by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in association with Government Medical Colleges at Amritsar, Patiala, Faridkot, and Christian Medical College, Ludhiana.
“The study demonstrated Punjab has a particularly high prevalence of NCD risk factors, present uniformly without any significant difference by gender or location. Punjab is the first state in the country to undertake this type of survey in the last decade,” mentions the report submitted by the department of community medicine, PGIMER, to Vini Mahajan, principal secretary, health and family welfare, Punjab, on Friday.
Risk indicators high but people less concerned
The survey found the large section (80%) of the surveyed population was suffering from the belly fat problem.
“Around 41% respondents were overweight or obese, and if waist circumference is considered, more than 80% were found overweight with central obesity (belly fat). Prevalence is comparable to obesity levels in many developed countries,” mentions the report.
It was also found that majority of people were not indulged in physical activities, which could be a reason behind them being obese. “About one third (31%) having low physical activity, with three forth of population not doing vigorous activity, points towards a growing epidemic of overweight and obesity,” stated the report.
The survey also links insufficient physical activity with high prevalence of hypertension.
“The insufficient physical activity may also be responsible for high prevalence of hypertension (40%), which is alarming with impact on morbidity and mortality due to heart diseases. The prevalence was even higher (60%) among those aged 45 to 69 years,” mentions the report.
Surprisingly, almost 42% of the respondents with raised blood pressure were not undergoing any treatment, which indicates a high unmet need for treatment. Also, about 37% had never got their blood pressure measured.
The prevalence of diabetes was also found to be very high (14%), higher than the estimates on the national level.
Cholesterol (16%) and triglycerides (22%) levels were also found quite high, with more than one fifth of the adult population having raised total triglycerides. Albumin creatinine ratio, an indicator of the risk for chronic kidney diseases, was found among 44% of the population.
The prevalence of tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption among men was found 13.1% and 27%, respectively; with 9% were high-end drinking.
Though risk indicators of non-communicable diseases were found high, at the same time, people were found to be less concerned about taking a balanced diet. “A vast majority (96%) of the population consumed lesser quantity of fruits and vegetables than they were recommended,” reveals the survey.
Major recommendations of the report included strengthening of health promotion activities in different settings (schools, workplaces and community) based on the integration health promotion model developed by the PGIMER in Hoshiarpur, Punjab. Preventive health screening package for over 30 year for men and women, better treatment facilities, effective implementation of the national NCD programme were the other recommendations.