There is now statistical proof to say that urban Indian
lifestyles are queering the pitch for the Indian heart. Born
with thinner arteries and at genetic risk for cardiac diseases,
Indians are worsening their risk for heart diseases with poor
physical activity, a high-fat diet and by steadily shunning
fruits and vegetables.
A study released at the World Congress of Cardiology in
Dubai on Thursday said four of five Indians led an inactive life
and about half were on a high-fat diet. Called the Indian Heart
Watch (IHW) study, spanning 11 cities and covering 6,000 men and
women, it was offered as the first-ever study on risk factors
for heart diseases in India. “The study showed risk factors are
now at higher levels in India than in developed countries and
regions such as the US and western Europe,’’ said the study’s
Indian Heart Watch looked at three lifestyle factors —
physical activity, diet and smoking — as well as biological
factors like obesity, diabetes, high BP and cholesterol.
Cities, with their urban transport networks and fast-food
joints, registered widespread physical inactivity. Even smaller
towns had a higher incidence of smoking and low intake of fruits
and vegetables. In sum, the research team comprising Jaipur-based
cardiologist Rajeev Gupta, said improper urban social
development was worsening cardiac risk factors among Indians.
The Indian Heart Watch covered major cities such as Delhi,
Mumbai as well as mid-sized towns such as Agra, Rohtak, etc.
Around 79% of men and 83% of women (who participated in the
study) were found to be physically inactive, while 51% men and
48% women had high-fat diets. “About 60% men and 57% women were
found to have a low intake of fruit and vegetables, while 12%
men and 0.5% women smoke,’’ the study said. Around 41% of men
and 45% of women were overweight or obese. High blood pressure
was reported in 33% men and 30% women, while high cholesterol
was found in onequarter of all men and women. Diabetes was also
reported in 34% men and 37% women.