If Indians feel they have bettered their lifestyles, here is some bad news. Lately, many Indians are dying of lifestyle epidemics than infections, a reversal in situation which existed some 20 years back.
Data from a survey of Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries showed that amongst the killers, heart ailments rank first followed by lung ailments and stroke. The two major contributors causing these ailments thereby increasing death or diseases risk include unhealthy diet intake and indoor air pollution caused due to burning wood or charcoal for cooking in poorly ventilated homes.
On analyzing data collected from 187 countries, a startling revelation is that Indian roads are the most dangerous in the world. Injuries due to road accidents are a leading cause of death. Dr. Srinath Reddy , President , Public Health Foundation of India said that menaces like stroke, heart and lung diseases; depression and road injuries causing premature deaths or disabilities is increasing at a rapid pace.
Much of these can be averted by implementing policies promoting healthy living. Gender violence has shattered health in women. Suicide rates among young women have doubled in the past twenty years. Death due to self-harm in the age group of 15 to 49 years has risen from five percent in 1990 to ten percent in 2010.
India has achieved success in reducing death in children due to infectious diseases by more than half. Death due to lung infections, malnutrition, meningitis and diarrhea in children aged one to four years has dropped from eight lakh cases in 1990 to three lakh in 2010. Under-weight childhood that accounted for third largest death risk in children in 1990 has dropped to eleven in 2010.
Despite this achievement, India lags behind most of its South Asian neighbors in certain parameters. Although life-expectancy at birth rose from 58.3 in 1990 to 65.2 in 2010 in India, people in most neighboring countries live longer.
Lalit Dandona, Professor of Global Health at IHME said that effective strategies to educate people to become more active and lower consumption of alcohol, unhealthy food and tobacco are required to have a healthy populace.