Its time India focussed on eating right | Opinion
“It is time for India to start eating right,” said Union health minister Harsh Vardhan in an event recently to launch POSHAN Maah 2019. September will be observed as the Poshan Maah (nutrition month).
While tackling under nutrition is a big challenge for the Indian government, there is also a growing epidemic of lifestyle-related disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases etc. that require attention.
Therefore, one can’t help but appreciate the efforts of the government in starting a movement of sorts to ensure Indians pays attention to their health and fitness. Be it launching the “Eat Right” movement or the “Fit India” movement this year, it is a step in the right direction.
It is high time that Indians start watching what they eat, and are aware enough to know what constitutes a healthy diet, as apart from lack of adequate physical activity and smoking and alcohol consumption, eating wrong kind of food that is high in fat, sugar and salt contributes significantly towards developing non-communicable diseases.
According to data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 200 million adults in the country suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), and 50% of them do not know about it. What is worse only one in 10 of those who have high blood pressure has it under control.
As for diabetes, an estimated 65 million adults in India suffer from the disease. Deaths due to cardiovascular (heart) diseases is also on the rise shows a Lancet study, causing more than one quarter of all deaths in the country in 2015 and affecting rural populations and young adults the most.
The rising numbers can be brought down, all we need to do is change our eating habits, start exercising, quit smoking and limit alcohol intake. Considering what we tend to gain by merely tweaking our lifestyle, it is surely worth the effort.