When it comes to eating unhealthy food, people in urban Punjab are not behind their rural counterparts. In a survey conducted by the PGIMER, women in urban Punjab were found more obese than those in rural areas. The study was conducted to assess urban and rural differences in dietary habits, physical activity and obesity.
“No rural-urban difference was found in dietary practices and prevalence of overweight and obesity,” mentions the report.
The study “Urban rural differences in diet, physical activity and obesity in India: are we witnessing the great Indian equalisation?” came to result from a cross-sectional WHO-STEPS approach.
The objective of the study was to document urban-rural differences in dietary practices, levels of physical activity and obesity in Punjab.
It was a part of NCD risk factor survey conducted in 2014-15 by PGIMER, in collaboration with National Health Mission, Punjab.
A state wide NCD risk factor survey based on WHO-STEPS approach was undertaken in Punjab in 2014–2015.
Of 5,127 people, 54% were women and 46% were men. Around 60% belonged to the rural areas. “Overall a very high proportion of people reported inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables with no gender or urban-rural differences,” the study mentions.
“Males were significantly more active than females. There was no urban-rural differential in physical inactivity. Urban females had higher prevalence of overweight as well as obesity. Central obesity was found to be quite higher among females in both the settings, compared to males,” finds the study.
The results also highlight the urgent need to promote overall physical activity, especially recreational activities during leisure time or at workplaces by creating adequate recreational infrastructure and enabling environments.
Intake of fruits and vegetables
Overall 95.8% of participants took less than five servings of fruits and/or vegetables on an average per day with no significant differences across urban-rural sub-groups in both the sexes.
Dietary salt intake
About 12.8% of the population often adds salt before or while eating. The higher salt intake was found among rural people. “Dietary salt intake among rural people (15.6%) was significantly more than urban (9.1%).”
Nearly 29.2% and 32.6% of participants reported light levels of physical activity in urban and rural areas respectively. “On comparing the percentage of respondents who are sufficiently active (150 minute of physical activity per week), no significant difference was observed among rural and urban populations,” mentions the study.
Around 28.6% were overweight (BMI > 25–29.9) and 12.8% obese (BMI > 30) with no urban-rural difference. However, urban female were more obese (34.3%) in comparison to rural (23.2%). Among males no urban-rural divide was observed. The prevalence of abdominal obesity was 75% in urban and 71% in rural areas.