The Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, has undertaken a number of initiatives to focus on the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, etc.
Through various studies that the department has conducted in the Chandigarh region, including population-based cancer registries, it came to light that 63% of men and 83% of women in Chandigarh wear a sedentary lifestyle, said Professor JS Thakur, Department of Community Medicine. and School of Public Health, PGI.
“The disease burden of NCDs reaches 55 percent in the country, a cause for immediate concern, and our sedentary lifestyle, coupled with an unhealthy diet, are factors responsible for the increase in cases,” added Professor Thakur. . This lifestyle, Professor Thakur added, can lead to more non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and mental health problems.
“For the most part, it is people over 30 who are affected by these diseases. We need to promote a mandatory one hour PE period in every school, set a day for physical activity events in a month, promote the use of a community gym, partner with a professional association like the World Federation of NCDs to make a fitness plan action for the city. Chandigarh has more than 1,600 parks spread out, and we definitely need to make better use of these open spaces, which other cities cannot boast of,” he stated.
According to experts, a change in lifestyle, a healthy and balanced diet, and physical activity can prevent most noncommunicable diseases, including cancer.
An unhealthy diet, including tobacco and alcohol use, is a modifiable risk factor for developing NCDs, and losses from premature deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are also projected to increase over the years. An unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity can manifest in people as increased blood pressure, increased blood glucose, and obesity.
It is essential to create awareness in the community about healthy eating taking into account the target population and thereby improve the quality of life. Focus on school children by providing them with healthy lunches, having healthy food options in the school cafeteria, and encouraging physical activity in schools.
Prof. Sanjay Bhadada, Head of the Department of Endocrinology, PGI, says the theme of this year’s Diabetes Day is “Diabetes Education to Protect Tomorrow” and the purpose is to raise awareness of the disease, have good glucose control and prevent complications.
“In general, Indians and Southeast Asians are predisposed to diabetes by increasing diet and reducing physical activity. Late-night dining and mental stress add fuel to the fire of abnormal Indian genetics. According to the Chandigarh Urban Bone Epidemiology Study (CUBES), approximately 20 percent have prediabetes, in addition to the known prevalence of diabetes in Chandigarh. Improve lifestyle, eat a healthy diet and exercise to prevent the disease,” said Professor Bhadada.
Experts recommend the inclusion of millet in the daily diet as the Chandigarh Millets Mission has recently been launched.
The UN General Assembly has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millet with a resolution to increase public awareness of the health benefits of millet.
Some of the common millets available in India are ragi (finger millet), jowar (sorghum), samak (small millet), bajra (pearl millet) and variga (proso millet). Millet is nutritionally superior to wheat and rice due to its high content of protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium, and can act as a tool to ensure nutritional security for all, curbing nutritional deficiencies between women and children. . Ragi is known to have the highest calcium content among all food grains.
The high iron content of small millet may help combat the high prevalence of anemia in Indian women of reproductive age and infants.
PGI has planned awareness sessions for visiting patients, especially in non-communicable disease clinics, as millet is high in fiber and has been documented for better diabetes control.