Causes And Concerns Of Lifestyle Diseases
The new buzz word in health and fitness is lifestyle diseases. But what does this mean? Referred to as diseases of civilization or longevity, the term refers to health issues related to progress and industrialization, also known as occupational lifestyle diseases. According to the experts on occupational lifestyle diseases, Sharma and Majumdar, “The occurrences of lifestyle diseases are primarily based on the day-to-day habits of people and an inappropriate relationship they have with their environments. The main factors that causes lifestyle diseases include physical inactivity, a disturbed biological dock, bad food habits and wrong body posture.
With progress in science and technology, the human race has become prone to poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, overuse of alcohol, poor diet, processed food intake, lack of physical activity, sleeping after midnight and chronic stress.
The single most critical health issue associated with these changes in our environment and lifestyle is obesity, leading to chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. A chronic disease is a lifetime companion as it can be controlled and monitored but not cured, and one has to learn to live with it.
Our whole approach to good health is skewed. Being obese is viewed as a sign of prosperity Health practitioners are consulted only when illness prevails, whereas preventive care should take priority. The modern generation has access to an overdose of literature to encourage healthful behaviours to help prevent or monitor chronic medical conditions.
What lacks, is the utter lack of motivation to start or maintain these appropriate, healthy changes. An understanding of and education about the disease processes which occur due to lack of healthy lifestyles is essential to develop the behavioural skills to retain healthy habits and sustain them over a lifetime.
The National Family Health Survey in India reports 2005-06 figures of obesity as 13 per cent of total women and nine per cent of total men. The Obesity Foundation of India states that this generation is the most sedentary generation of people in the history of the world. India needs to tackle obesity on a war footing. World over, obesity has become a meta lifestyle disease, leading to diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases affecting millions.
India has the distinction of being the diabetes capital of the world, with 61.3 million affected by diabetes. The WHO report as of 2012, shows 11.1 per cent of males and 10.8 per cent of females having high fasting blood glucose levels. These diseases are no longer confined to the developed world as millions of people in developing countries are adopting a westernized lifestyle.
There is no longer the labour of love in washing, grinding, pasting, cutting or mixing as there is a machine for every task that involves the use of our muscles, so much so, that even writing, thinking and calculating are skills of the past, leading us to a sedentary lifestyle and a deterioration of our cognitive abilities.
On The Brighter Side Of Things: Choose To Be Proactive
The good news is that healthy lifestyle modifications are possible with emphasis on outdoor activities, nutritional counselling, exercise training, and stress management. Medical studies at Cleveland Clinic show that participation In comprehensive lifestyle modification programs by adults suffering from chronic disease, leads to significant, sustainable psychosocial and biometric clinically meaningful outcomes.
Therapeutic yoga, stress relief through meditation and diversion, regular exercise and behavioural health coaching along with emphasis on nutrition, culinary techniques and physical activity have shown good results. Rehabilitation professionals and parents play a major role in the success of these interventions.
Dr Kumeran of the Obesity Foundation in India emphasizes the role of parents in encouraging youngsters in outdoor activities and helping them enjoy and relish the right kind of fibre foods and protein, not processed fast food, and sugar-filled colas. The importance of starting the day with a high fibre breakfast cannot be emphasized enough.
According to a study put forth by University of Pittsburgh, the risk of diabetes increases by 3.4 per cent for every hour of sitting’ time a child spends in front of the television. Neighbourhood groups to walk, talk and share events can also lead to stress reduction. Socialization can even provide inter-generational motivation for sustaining healthy habits across the continuum of life.