There is some sobering news for young professionals. A survey conducted recently has revealed that 45% of young professionals suffer from some lifestyle disorder or the other. The disorders most common were chronic body pain (40%), obesity (20%), hypertension (18%), respiratory disorders (10%), frequent digestive disorders (8%) and high blood sugar levels (4%). The survey was conducted by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company among young working professionals in the 23-35 years age group. The sample size was 1,100, spread over nine Indian cities.
The study further found that 75% of the respondents were covered by health insurance. However, there was heavy dependence on insurance provided by employers: 60% of those who were covered had only an employer-provided cover. Among those who did not possess health insurance, 46% said that it is an expensive cover.
The present findings merely confirm the increasing prevalence of occupational lifestyle diseases in India. A 2008 report, jointly prepared by the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum had projected that in India, diseases resulting from unhealthy lifestyles and faulty diet (heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and respiratory infections) will severely affect people’s earnings. A 2009 survey conducted by Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM) revealed that 68% of working women between 21-52 years were found afflicted with lifestyle ailments such as obesity, depression, chronic backache, diabetes and hypertension.
In 2015, a white paper released by the Confederation of Indian Industry stated that according to estimates of various global and domestic organizations one out of four Indians is at risk of dying from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardio-vascular ailments or cancer before the age of 70.
Experts say that lifestyle diseases take years to develop, but once encountered, do not lend themselves easily to cure. But the silver lining in this dark scenario is that lifestyle diseases are largely preventable. These can be lowered with changes in diet, lifestyle, and environment. The main factors contributing to the lifestyle diseases include bad food habits, physical inactivity, wrong body posture, and disturbed biological clock.
A healthy lifestyle must be adopted to combat these diseases with a proper balanced diet, physical activity and by giving due respect to biological clock. For office goers who have long working hours in front of their computers, occupational posture is very important. They should avoid long sitting hours and should take frequent breaks for stretching or for other works involving physical movements. Use of ergonomic chairs is strongly recommended. Reduced intake of junk food, eating in moderation and physical activity are the other simple tips to be implemented.