ByÂ Amritapa Basu:
Preeti Agrawal, 23, is a student by day and part-time call centre employee by night.
Manish Malhotra, 35, works for a multinational company and has to devote 12-16 hours to his work.
Yashasvi Mathur, 30, is an executive in a high profile company and has a family and a 2-year old kid to look after.
The common string that binds all these Preetis, Manishs and Yashasvis is that all of them suffer from excessive stress and pressures to meet deadlines. Lifestyle oriented diseases are taking a toll on the young professionals today. With the revolution of economy, the standard of living has inevitably risen and with this has increased the need to work and work even more. The result is that doctor’s pockets become heavier as people rush to them with a variety of complaints.
Working in prolonged night shifts affects the biological clock and results in insomnia and consequently, deterioration in over-all health. Heart diseases and cases of heart attacks have become so common. So has hypertension. Three out of four persons now complain of high blood pressure. Deadlines and commitments at work places cause immense strain and failure to meet these results in severe depression. Lack of physical exercise and outdoor games in children is resulting in obesity which has taken a massive form abroad and is affecting children in India as well. Psychiatrist Gargi Dutta says, “Now-a-days, most are single-child of their parents. They spend their leisure time playing video-games and on computers. This absolute lack of outdoor games causes not only obesity but also depression, feeling of aloofness as there is no socializing at all.”
Courtesy the new-age globalization-now, we get the pizzas and pastas at the-shop-next-door. Children no longer want to have home-made food and love to indulge in junk food. Why children alone? Time constrains has led adults also to divulge into the ready-made food from road-side eateries. Surveys and researches suggest that the diet of people has shifted from cereal grains and staple food to meat, vegetable oils and alcoholic beverages. This is a major factor in determining rates of cancer. A research paper published in the Lancet in 2002 says, “Environmental rather than genetic factors are the key determinants of the international variation in cancer rates.” Drug abuse, smoking tobacco and consumption of alcohol also propel various diseases, especially in later life.
If we take a look at the statistics, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis and Diarrhea were the top three causes of death in USA in 1900. By 1940, heart diseases and Cancer replaced them to top the list. In 1990s, these were the causes for 60% deaths in the States. WHO has warned that more than 270 million are susceptible to fall victims to unhealthy lifestyles. Incidentally, a majority of this number are thought to be comprised of individuals from China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia.
Many corporate houses are identifying these problems and taking steps to cope with it. Some are organizing compulsory yoga classes during a stipulated time during the office hours, some other enthusiastic ones have come up with salsa classes for its employees. Some are also providing holiday packages for employees and their families as an incentive.
‘Health is wealth’ is a saying learnt as a kid, we might as well make little possible efforts to preserve it. After all, with ‘healthy living’ alone comes ‘high thinking’.