Unhealthy lifestyle is increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases among the young Indian workforce. The corporate world stands to lose billions of dollars if they do not invest in wellness programs for their employees,
India is a nation racing towards affluence; skyrocketing salaries and an economy on a remarkable upward growth trajectory are putting unprecedented pressure on youth to succeed. With the increase in the competition levels, youngsters are faced with the problem of stress at a very early stage. The advent of MNC work culture inIndia, unhealthy lifestyles and longer working hours are leading to increased stress thereby exposing the young Indians to heart ailments. In the last decade or so, an increasing number of young Indians are found to have been falling prey to coronary artery disease contrary to the age-old belief that heart ailments are an older individual’s disease.
While morality due to heart ailments is declining in developed and advanced nations, cardiovascular deaths in Asia, particularly in India, are on the rise. India could be the world capital for heart disease by 2020 with 100 million people currently affected by heart-related ailments, which is a resultant effect of unhealthy lifestyle. Indians are genetically predisposed to heart diseases. In addition,
lack of physical activity, increase in smoking and alcohol consumption are all classic risk factors which are putting the young Indians on the risk zone of coronary heart diseases. The World Health Organization has warned that more than 270 million people are vulnerable to diseases linked to unhealthy lifestyles. Most of these people will be fromIndia,China,PakistanandIndonesia. The resultant chronic diseases – heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and respiratory infections – which are ailments of long duration and slow progression, will severely affect people’s earnings. The WHO and World Economic Forum point out that inactivity or sedentary lifestyles inIndiacould cause a loss of $236.6 billion by 2015.
In the last two decades the number of people suffering from coronary artery disease has remarkably grown, and research has proven that modern lifestyle is the stimulus for the growth of heart diseases among the youth. The problem is particularly grave in the corporate world. In the IT and IT-enabled services sectors, the young employees are suffering from a range of chronic and lifestyle problems including heart ailments. The global workforce is becoming fatter, sicker and less productive due to chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes work becomes more sedentary, according to the results of the study. With 60 per cent of the country’s population under the age of 25, the issue calls for immediate attention.
Owing to the fast food culture, many Indians including children are suffering from obesity which the medical world recognizes as a major risk factor for coronary heart diseases. Obesity places a person at greater risk of acquiring serious disorders, such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, stroke and osteoarthritis. The cause is usually an excess intake of calories and consumption of junk food.
It is not just the young working class; even children encouraged by their parents are consuming high calorific junk food. Thus, childhood obesity is fast emerging as a major public health problem. In addition, most children do not partake in any physical activity due to heavy school work. Children should have at least an hour’s physical activity, but they hardly find enough time to fulfill this mandatory requirement. To top it, children spend hours before television accompanied by their ‘couch potato parents’ munching chips and drinking colas which are a poison to their health.
Simple lifestyle modifications can go a long way in leading a hearty life. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising, quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight is a sure shot way to a balanced and a healthy life. Parents should set an example to their children by following a healthy lifestyle as children are impressionable and have the tendency to imitate what we do as adults. Parents should sow the seeds of positive working habits right when the children are at a growing age. Always believe in the old dictum ‘as you sow so you reap’. To prevent heart disease in adults, one should start encouraging a healthy lifestyle in our children from a young age. By encouraging an active lifestyle in our children, a love of all foods healthy and a distaste of smoke and smoking, we will make it so much easier for them later in life.
At workplace, employers need to evolve strategies to keep their employees healthy and invest in wellness programs. A simple technique such as office yoga, a concept slowly but surely gaining importance in corporate India, not only improves health but also reduces stress, and relaxes tense muscles. Office yoga is simple-to-do desk-based exercises that can improve the health of employees, reduce absenteeism and boost an employee’s morale and loyalty. Apart from office yoga, companies should develop on-site wellness centers that give their employees access to nutritional and health information. These in-house wellness centers should ideally have machines to monitor common health concerns like weight gain, body mass index and check blood pressure on a monthly basis. This will save the time of the employees as they do not have to steal a few hours to visit their doctor.