India gave the gift of Ayurveda and Yoga to the world, and today India is in the middle of a fat explosion. While a third of its population goes hungry India, a country of contrast is now number three on the obesity charts. World obesity federation claims that, India will have 48.3 million obese people by 2025. India’s a ticking time bomb with teenage obesity on the rise. If you have not already, check out this well written article about why Indian Men and Women carry the most fat around their bellies.
The Numbers are moving, but its only build by the lies we tell ourselves.
64% of Indians do not exercise, either they are too lazy to stay healthy or they have no time to exercise. Deaths caused due to chronic non-communicable diseases have increased more than 24% over past three decades, out of which 60% of respondents have never ever had their blood pressure checked. Unbalanced dietary pattern and sedentary lifestyle has contributed in reporting 33% of urban men and 44% of urban women as obese. Yes, poverty and disparity of income are factors to blame, but mistake is ours too, as we just aren’t ready to accept the truth that we as a population are unhealthy.
So, what got us here? Why’re Indians unfit? Why are we more inclined towards finding a cure after being diagnosed with the diseases, rather than striving towards not be affected by it, in the first place?
- Fitness in India: Less than 2% of the population uses the gym.
One of every two Indian is inactive. With decline in physical activity in most work places and devices being relentlessly updated, we are aiming to lessen physical movement in all walks of life. This modern lifestyle has left us with very limited options to stay fit. Gym’s for example, are often misconceived as a social gathering for the rich, the body builder or celebs.
Fitness centers and gym’s infact open you up to right training style, guidance and hub for nutritional guidance. Essentially, 150 minutes of exercise a week i.e. 30 minutes a day, five times a week is enough for an average human to function well. Gyms are often underestimated for what they have to offer. We only think of going to the gym when the only other alternative is the hospital. We as Indian’s do not think it is worth inventing in our health.
- India is the Diabetes capital of the world
49% of Indians are diabetic. 64 per cent of those diabetics were diagnosed only in the past 25 years, now we know when we started going wrong. In the midst of modernisation, increasing quantities of processed junk food and hormone infused dairy products is not doing any good to our body. With emerging market size and product line, the adulteration in our produce has crossed all limits. Taste buds became the focus and from a culture that worships cow, we became the one to violate them.
We are eating more packed food loaded with sugar more than ever and sipping on soda’s like its water. A lot of western fast chain food brands have made a mark on indian streets and our street side ‘keri chaat (raw mango chaat)’ has been replaced with double cheese McD’s.
For a country praised for being vegetarian primarily, due to excessive dairy and junk food consumptio, it is also the country with the highest rates of diabetes across the globe.
- Mental Health in India
The power of our minds is immeasurable it can make the impossible happen and can even make the possible seem impossible. Mental health ailment has recent gained a little momentum in India, but it still has a long path to cover, which needs to be done faster now, as India is most depressed country followed by China and America.
Emerging loneliness, stress, insecurities and anxiety leads to emotional eating, spiralling into negativity and even irresolvable damages. Working on our own mental health via fitness will not only get endorphins rush but also a self-improvement journey where in we progress and giving ourselves a boost of joy.
In India where more than 50% of the population lives paycheck to paycheck, work and finance are the obvious reasons for stress which can be combated by standardised wellness plan for employees introduced by corporates. Better health results in higher productivity, which creates a win- win for all.
- Seated jobs
India’s working hours are one of the longest globally, almost 40% of our week is consumed by our jobs, which demand us to focus while being seated which takes a toll on our posture, eyesight, neck and back. While working we often forget to blink, drink water, switch our body movement and barely move right after eating. No wonder they are high paying, because they take away a lot more than your daily freedom.
Many work places are now equipped with full size gym ; and there are coming up with environment more conducive to productivity and creativily breaking the traditional rules, the cube, nap room, stand and work desk and roof top gardens for walking meeting.
- Diary adulteration
Milk and diary products have become such essential part in our lives. The impacts of the dairy industry are alarming not just for the environment but for our own body.
Dairy causes bloating, spikes in mood, lessening your appetite and even certain types of cancers.
Milk in India is found to be highly adulterated out of all food products.
In 2017, FSSAI had already lowered the diary standard requirements of fats and SNF in milk. Dairy industry is a multi billion dollar industry and more often than not, the milk you are drinking now is loaded with hormones, bleach, pus and even blood. Dairy is also the number one leading cause to diabetes.
- Sticking to old traditions and living a modern life.
With our current lifestyle we shouldn’t really follow all the traditional eating habits, as the amount of physical activity has drastically declined and the number of occasions to celerate has spiked up.
Current approach for a balanced diet should stick to traditional methods of
- Steaming rather than Frying
- Minimally processed and high on nutrition
- Baked or roasted rather than fried
- Veggies instead of fat based proteins
- Raw instead of juiced
A diet high of fats and proteins is not ideal for the current lifestyle, we are moving less than ever and eating more than ever in history. From eating two meals a day, like our sages used to, we eat every few hours now and most of what we eat is sugar and fat.
Going a little less on ghee, butter, sugary and processed foods won’t make us any weaker. One need not measure fats and carbs to know whats best for them, you just need to redevelop the traditional recipes in a way that’s close to nature.
Inidans now really need a fitness mantra and mindfulness towards eating habits.
Getting back to our roots Yoga and Ayurveda with a newer approach is the only answer.