Chennai: In what may be seen as a serious cause of concern, 72 per cent women and 81 per cent men in the city are either overweight or underweight, according to a study conducted by 'Healthi', India's fastest growing preventive health provider. The study throws light on the fact that a large population of Chennaites lack awareness about the importance of being healthy and the need to make necessary lifestyle changes.
Doctors, therefore, stress on the need to cultivate effective healthy habits and seek help at the right time. The study, which was based on one million health tests and related data points, including health history and lifestyle, over a period of 18 months (October 2015 to March 2017), found that 22 per cent women and 29 per cent men in the city already have or are at a high risk of hypertension while 14 per cent women and 31 per cent men suffer from high cholesterol. It established that weight problems, insufficient physical activity, smoking, stress, anxiety, and depression are the main lifestyle issues that are affecting people across all age groups in Chennai.
“A working individual is subjected to a lot of stress. Obesity is on the rise due to factors like midnight snacking and late night sleeping. Besides, the urban population tends to rely on a carb-heavy diet, which doesn't help either,” said Dr R.M. Anjana, Director, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation. “Reduced physical activity, contributed in part by longer working hours, is the key reason behind the rise in obesity. The drop in activity among Indians is estimated to be close to 50 per cent when compared to the 1970s while calorie intake has increased by more than half since the turn of the millennium,” she added.
“Despite the fact that the state of Tamil Nadu is recognized as the hub for medical tourism, most locals fail to take their own health seriously. While on one hand, there are those who eat a lot and do not exercise at all, on the other hand, there are those who are so involved with work that they fail to eat at all. Awareness campaigns are held throughout the year, stressing on the importance of regular check-ups as well as daily exercise, however, more often than not, it falls on deaf ears,” said a health official.
To millions of Indians, preventive health, if any, ends at a health check, a short consultation and a prayer. “Startling national women health statistics like over 26 per cent suffering from anemia, 88 per cent from Vitamin D deficiency and over 12 per cent with abnormal TSH levels necessitate the need for timely detection and treatment,” said Rekuram Varadharaj, one of the founders of Healthi.