Spurt in Lifestyle Diseases among Poor: Doctors

New Delhi: There is a rapid increase of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among poor people, say doctors. Demanding that the increasing burden should be addressed immediately, they added that referring to these as a rich man's disease is a myth.

Health experts say the causes for a rise in lifestyle ailments -- diabetes, hypertension and heart disease -- amongst the poor are more or less similar to those affecting the rich and middle-class, but in a different context.

"We think lifestyle diseases are associated only with upper or upper-middle class, but it is not so. Majority of people from the economically weaker sections eat junk food. Most of it is cooked in unhygienic conditions, but easily accessible and affordable. However, after a point of time, it leads to chronic heart ailments," Deep Goel, director, bariatric surgery, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, told IANS.

"Most of these people consume more of carbohydrates, are obese but malnourished, and always deprived of key nutrients. In the past 10 years, cases of heart ailments in the economically weaker sections has almost doubled," he added.

A recent study by a team of researchers from the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and other leading international universities, pointed that majority of the NCDs are largely prevalent among the poor.

"We are a group of researchers who have cross-studied the data collected by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2007 for its Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health. We studied the WHO's data of 12,0000 individuals from six states which reported on five NCDs - angina, hypertension, chronic lung diseases and asthma, vision problems and depression," Sukumar Vellakkal, health economist, PHFI told IANS.

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Source: IANS