Coronary disease prevention in India: the unmet need Heart disease deaths has risen in the country by 34% over last 26 years.

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Heart Disease in Diabets
Heart Disease in Diabets

By Debabrata Roy

Cardiologist

This has happened despite intensive media campaign on prevention of
coronary artery diseases(CAD). So the question comes where we have
gone wrong?

One of the most important factor that we have ignored so far is the
growing scourge of childhood obesity in India,which is estimated to be
17 billion by 2025 – second in the world. Childhood obesity is the root
of all evils – hypertension,diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia,i.e., all those
factors that lead to CAD. We all know that this can be controlled by
minimizing junk food intake and increasing physical activity.

Unfortunately,according to the India Fast Food market report,the sale
of junk food is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% between 2016 and It had already doubled in size between 2013 and 2016, to $1.12
billion, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.Moreover, National
Institute of Nutrition in 2011,has shown that the amount of harmful
contents in such foods,i.e., sugar,salt and fat, are much higher than
even the highest level set by the Food Safety and Standardization
Authority of India.

Situation gets more complicated once these obese children step into
their youthhood.India’s youth (15-44years) population is already 1.2
billion,the largest on the planet, and obviously is set to grow further. Such youth population is more prone to use tobacco and alcohol, both of which when added to obesity, compounds the risk of CAD. Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 showed a prevalence of tobacco use of 12.4% among Indian youth and consumption of alcoholic beverages is set to increase from 5.38 to 6.35 billion liters between 2016 and 2020. Therefore it is not a surprise that India is set to be the global capital of CAD by 2025.

All these industries are revenue generators – the fast food industry
contributes Rs.1000 crores annually as VAT;tax collection from liquor
industry between April 2017 and March 2018 was a whopping Rs.4317.5 crore; and tax collection from cigarettes alone was
Rs.28489 crores in 2016-2017.Not only this.they also create
employment.For example,fast food industry alone provided direct
employment to nearly 5 million people in 2010- five times more than
the IT sector.Thus there is an obvious lack of serious endeavour on
behalf of the government to control these menaces.

To add to these woes, though the fitness industry in India touched
Rs.7000 crore by the end of 2017 ( ET Sept 12,2017), in a recent pan India study conducted by Gympik, India’s largest fitness discovery
platform, 53% of the respondents said that they lack the discipline to
stay fit. It was based on the responses of 1.06 million people, mainly
in the age group of 20-35 years.

So the only way to prevent the growing epidemic of CAD is to spread
awareness among the children. The Cardiological Society of India,
the apex body of the Indian cardiologists, has undertaken an
awareness project encompassing 1,78,676 students and 6944
teachers of 2762 schools in West Bengal regarding simple preventive
life-style measures based on the booklet “TEN COMMANDMENTS
FOR CREATING HEART HEALTHY HOMES”released by it on 2015.
Apart from the direct reach, the indirect reach – parents/siblings of
the participating students and other students taught by the
participating teachers- of the programme was approximately 5.55
lakhs.At follow-up as much as 37% of the population showed
positive change regarding adoption of healthy life-style.

Encouraged by this response the society is introducing a “Cardiac
Wellness Apps” for teaching preventive life-style measures in simple
terms to the general population,which will be released at a function
on 30th September at Kolkata on the occasion of World Heart Day. The success of this programme will go a long way in containing the growing menace of CAD in India.

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