A national non-communicable disease (NCD) monitoring survey covering 600 primary sampling units in 28 states revealed that one in three adults used some form of tobacco in the last 12 months.
The survey, released on Monday and contained 57 primary sampling units from Karnataka and Kerala, also showed that a fourth of the surveyed men consumed alcohol.
The survey covered men and women in the 15-69 age group residing in urban and rural areas. It also highlighted how the health system responds to the NCD issue.
The study found more than two in five adults and one in four adolescent’s doing insufficient physical activities. It said more than one in four adults and 6.2% adolescents were overweight or obese. It also emerged from the study that the average daily intake of salt is eight grams.
Almost three out of ten adults have raised blood pressure, while nearly 9.3% had raised glucose levels. Two in five adults had three or more risk factors for NCDs.
“Risk factors of NCDs are rising across India, propelled by demographic, nutrition and social transitions,” K Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India, told DH.
He continued: “NCDs are already the highest contributors to deaths and disability in India. Much of this impact is felt in productive young and middle ages. Today’s risk behaviours and risk factors are tomorrow’s diseases.”
Dr Rangaswamy H V, Deputy Director, Non-Communicable Diseases, Department of Health and Family Welfare, observed that the eight-gram daily salt intake as a positive.
“It’s been ten years since the NCD programme was started,” Dr Rangaswamy said. “Previously, our average intake of salt per day was 15 grams. This survey shows that it has reduced. It’s internationally known that Indians consume more salt, which isn’t ideal.”
The official noted that alcohol intake, obesity, diabetes and hypertension have increased in Karnataka, warning that the alarming numbers would not change unless people maintain right diet and physical activities. Primordial prevention at the community level is needed to correct the parameters, he further said.
Prof Reddy said the health system should be geared up for prevention, early detection, control risk behaviours and biological risk factors. “This requires policies and programmes in other sectors to act on the environmental and commercial determinants of health such as tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy food and beverages, air pollution and climate change,” he said.