HT Youth Survey: No yoga, no exercise for India’s young
In Part 3 of HT’s Youth Survey 2017, does India’s youth take its health seriously?Youth Survey 2017 Updated: Oct 11, 2017 17:06 IST
Most youngsters in India do not exercise regularly or monitor their diet. India’s ancient tradition of yoga also does not have many takers, the India Youth Survey 2017 reveals.
Statistics point to a health crisis in the making. About 70% people do not exercise regularly and 62.5% say that they do not monitor their diet.
“The impact of this will be huge. We already have a huge burden of diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases. Obesity and stressful lifestyle means more and more people will get these diseases. Exercise and diet are two important variables that can be modified by individuals to lead a healthy lifestyle,” says Sandhya Pandey, chief clinical nutritionist at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgaon.
The survey says 80% respondents do not give much importance to yoga.
Packed schedules, say youngsters from New Delhi, don’t give them time for physical activities. “Between college, debate society and volunteering at an NGO, I hardly get the time to exercise every day. Health does not remain a priority,” says Amisha Verma, a 19-year-old history student from the national capital.
“I used to go to the gym till last year. However, now I can’t take out time for it even though I think it is important for everyone to take one hour out each day for some sort of physical activity, whether it is going to the gym, doing home exercises or yoga. But, I make it a point to walk as much as I can between college, workplace and home and climb as many stairs I can,” says Vipul Tiwari, a New Delhi-based law student.
He feels people automatically become conscious about their diet when they exercise regularly.
“I usually exercise and follow a schedule maybe for a month and then I am not able to follow through with it. However, I realised that whenever I start working out I am conscious about what I am eating and I try to avoid junk food as much as possible,” says Meenakshi Ruhela, a second-year postgraduate student in social work.
When it comes to awareness about the benefits of particular food groups, nearly half of the respondents say checking fibre content is not important: 70.3% do not check for gluten, 64.2% don’t bother about the foods high on unsaturated fats. About 60.9% say it makes no difference to them whether their food is organic or not, and 63% don’t take probiotic preparations.
“When I am working out, I just concentrate on keeping the protein content high and avoid junk food. Apart from that I do not really look at the other things, although I have read about it and I am aware,” Tiwari says.
For Ruhela, checking food labels before buying isn’t important.
“It’s just that when I am dieting I avoid food such as burgers and fried stuff,” she says.
Ishi Khosla, clinical nutritionist and founder of theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods, offers similar views.
“Checking food labels constantly is not going to be of much help. We have to look at food holistically. The food labels are just to check whether there is any toxic substance, anything that a person is allergic to, and for the calorie count. Apart from that, many people will not even understand it and it is not necessary,” she says.
What is important is to look at what people are eating and the portion sizes, whether they are consuming six to eight servings of fruits and vegetables, and what they are actually consuming when they are having a burger, the nutritionist advises.
Both Khosla and Pandey suggest people should be aware what they are eating.
“You will not realise when you finish a packet of chips when you are watching something or reading a book. It is important to think about what you are putting in your body,” Pandey says.
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Survey Methodology: India Youth Survey 2017 was carried out by MaRS Monitoring and Research Systems in 16 state capitals and major towns in India- Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur, and Chandigarh in the north, Kolkata, Patna, Bhubaneswar and Ranchi in the East, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Indore in the West, and Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi in the South.
Target respondents were both male and female from age groups 18-21 years and 22-25 years, belonging to households with durable ownership of CTV, Refrigerator and at least two of: Car, Two Wheeler, Home computer/laptop, Air Conditioner and Washing machine. The respondent was either currently a student of undergraduate or above or employed with education graduate or above. Additionally the respondent was a regular user of internet on the smart phone and member of a social networking site. Total sample size was 5700, equally divided among men and women and the two age groups. Survey was carried out from July 10 to July 31, 2017