Forty-eight per cent of Mumbaikars face the risk of heart attacks because of obesity, more than 50% have unhealthy cholesterol levels while around 64% lead a sedentary life and avoid exercise.
These are some of the disturbing findings of a mega study, conducted across nine Indian cities among 1.8 lakh people, including 29,017 respondents surveyed in Mumbai.
It showed that 70% of urban Indians are at the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The study found people in various cities with different sets of risk factors.
Dr Akshay Mehta, senior cardiologist from Asian Heart Hospital, said, “Sedentary lifestyle, stressful work conditions and compromised diet are leading factors in precipitating the risk of heart disease. This has affected the heart health of the young work force in the 30 to 44 age group.”
In comparison to other cities, Mumbai appears to have fared moderately well when it comes to percentage-wise risk factors. Those in Delhi and Chandigarh, for instance, were found to be more obese at 54% each. Mumbai fared slightly better at 48% whereas all the others, except Kolkata—Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune–have people between 49-52% who suffer the risk of heart problems because of obesity. Obesity factor was lowest in Kolkata at 47%.
The study conducted by Saffolalife, also factored in faulty eating habits. Delhi and Chandigarh, again, topped the chart in consumption of processed foods such as noodles, chips and packaged juices. Forty-four per cent of Mumbai’s respondents consumed processed or preserved food more than twice a week.
Delhi and Chandigarh were also high in consumption of fried or fat-rich foods. Ahmedabad, meanwhile, was the biggest defaulter when it came to consumption of vegetables, fruit and salad whereas people from Chennai were found to have the least affiliation with whole grains.
“Diet has undergone major changes depending on convenience. Preference for processed, preserved and fried foods has gone up noticeably. High dependence on the same and a menu devoid of vegetables, fruits and whole grains will only make people more vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases,” said dietician Niti Desai.
Lack of physical activity, too, makes Indians prone to heart problems. The study found that 70% of those who live in Ahmedabad indulged in little physical activity. Those in Pune and Bangalore were found to be most active of all, but only marginally more than others.
“No more eyebrows are raised these days when one hears about people below the age of 40 getting a heart attack. While Mumbai is seeing an increase in the ageing population—which, in turn, directly affects the heart—there are also many attacks in the younger working population,” said Dr Ganesh Kumar, chief interventional cardiologist, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital.
Its high time we recognize this and eat well and exercise to prevent heart illnesses.