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Lifestyle Diseases: Are You Suffering From One? [How To Cope Up?]

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By 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.

  • Apart from the efforts being made by certain companies at the organizational level, one must observe certain practices at an individual level.
  • Taking care of one’s diet and including lots of nutritional foods, fruits and lots of water is an absolute essential.
  • One must abstain from drugs and tobacco and restrict alcohol consumption.
  • If one loses on a night’s sleep due to excessive work load, one must try and make up for it as soon as possible.
  • Regular health check-ups and taking preventive measures before-hand would also be helpful.
  • However busy we might be, we must try to devote fifteen minutes of the day for meditation, yoga or any other activity which helps us to de-stress.

‘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’.

Image courtesy.

You must be to comment.
  1. Salony Satpathy

    This is a grave issue that is affecting most people around. Drug abuse, smoking and drinking, as a matter of fact, are affecting the younger generation to a great extent. Even school children are succumbing to them. The root of the problem is the attitude of the people. Most of them simply ‘Don’t care’.It is this attitude that has to be changed.

    1. YouthKiAwaaz

      Thats right Salony! The attitude is the main problem! Let’s work towards changing our communities, and then aim higher!

  2. Bhaskarchakravorty68

    It is an eye opener for all of us. Good collection of data. The time has come when we should look back and change our food habits. But in this rush, finding a time for conventional food is difficult. People are taking medicines more than food which is opposite to what our ancestors used to do. We need to look for a way which will help us to bring down the number of persons ailing due to food habits and irregular life style and I believe your suggestions will make them happy and healthy…. if adopted. Keep writing and best wishes.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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