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India's Rising Inactivity Spurs Health Crisis

A new study published in The Lancet Global Health reveals a significant increase in physical inactivity among Indian adults, rising from 22.3% in 2000 to 49.4% in 2022. This trend poses serious health risks, as insufficient physical activity is linked to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and cancers.

The study highlights a notable gender disparity, with 57% of women being physically inactive compared to 42% of men. Cultural barriers, misconceptions about the adequacy of household chores as exercise, and limited support for women's fitness contribute to this gap.

Globally, India ranks 12th highest in physical inactivity among 195 countries, situating the issue within a broader health challenge in South Asia, where 45% of adults are inactive. Factors such as sedentary work patterns, environmental changes, convenient transportation modes, and screen-based leisure activities are driving this increase.

Genetically predisposed to developing NCDs earlier, Indians face amplified risks due to rising inactivity. Public health experts, including Dr. K Srinath Reddy, stress the need for interventions to promote physical activity. Suggested strategies include integrating enjoyable physical activities into daily routines, fostering community support, and emphasizing a balanced diet rich in micronutrients.

Addressing the specific barriers faced by women is crucial. This involves debunking myths about household chores as exercise, providing safe spaces for women's physical activities, and challenging cultural norms that limit their participation.

This study underscores the urgent need for public health authorities, policymakers, and individuals in India to prioritize physical activity and adopt healthier lifestyles to combat the growing threat of physical inactivity and its associated health risks.

Source - The Indian Express



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