Imbalanced diet among leading causes for NCDs in India: ASSOCHAM report

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Hypertension, Digestive Diseases, and Diabetes are among the top three most prevalent NCDs

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has recently released a report to analyse the rising cases of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country.

Based on a healthcare survey covering 233672 people and 673 public health offices in 21 states it has been observed that India’s NCDs burden is growing at an alarming rate with the average age for onset falling sharply.

Prepared by Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI), the survey reported that NCDs increase after 18 years and show a quantum leap when an individual crosses the age of 35 years.

On a collective basis, the report identified air pollution as the most prevalent risk factor among the surveyed population. It was trailed by low physical activity – a key metabolic and physical activity and an imbalanced diet, a behavioural risk factor that occupied 3rd spot.

An imbalanced diet includes a diet low in legumes, milk, omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, fruits, calcium etc. High consumption of sugar and trans-fats due to growing urbanisation often leads to sedentary and stressed lifestyle also contribute to factors that lead to an imbalanced diet.

Interestingly, chewing tobacco and tobacco consumption were found not to play any significant role in the occurrence of NCD, and alcohol consumption was found to have an even smaller impact on the prevalence of NCD. Together these intoxications, deeply connected to modern-day lifestyle, were found to have a much lesser impact on the occurrence of NCDs.

For India to check the alarming rise in the number of NCDs, it is essential to significantly increase public expenditure on healthcare. It is imperative to prevent and control risk factors in an integrated manner by developing strategies and policies to inhibit the NCD burden on the country.

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