Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Urban Indians Are Physically Inactive.


The average British national is reportedly among the most inactive person on this planet. This revelation was made by one of the most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, last week. Indians have been praised by the same study for being among the least inactive people.

But should this be a cause for celebration? Hardly. The study seems to have looked at India as a whole; the rural-urban divide seems to have been blurred. The rural Indian who walks miles to get his ration or water supply or to consult a doctor has been considered alongside urban Indians who in comparison seems pampered with metro rail networks and corporate hospitals.

A study done in a school in Greater Mumbai shows why urban India should be as worried as Britain about physical inactivity. The study done by Dr Aashish Contractor of Asian Heart Hospital in Mumbai's Bandra area showed that while 14 per cent of the schoolchildren who were studied were overweight, most of them didn't walk enough. The study counted the number of steps that children would need to take as per their Body-Mass Index to be classified as physically active.

Dr Contractor's research showed that 88 per cent of the boys and 85 per cent of the girls in that school failed to take the 15,000 steps per day and 12,000 steps per day respectively needed of 12-year-olds.

This lack of physical activity leads to obesity among children and eventually leads to chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiac diseases. The Lancet study showed that 5 million people die
due to physical inactivity every year. This is the same number of deaths caused by smoking. Urban Indians, who are as fond of their couch-seat in front of the television sets as they are of junk food,
need to wake up to the stay-fit mantra.
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