Health can be interpreted as a state of complete well-being – and not just the absence of disease or infirmity. But is this something that is applicable to us today? Our current lifestyles are far from the lives of our parents and grandparents. Caught as we are in today’s net age and jet age, some unhealthy habits are found in our lifestyles. Smoking, poor eating habits, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle threaten our physical and mental well-being.
People working in metropolitan cities are more vulnerable – poor lifestyle choices worsen their physical health. When a nation reaches a certain level of wealth, a certain complacency sets in. People get used to a certain standard of living, a certain lifestyle and boom! The nation is at a high economic level, but the health of its people could be bottoming out. Urban migration leads to certain lifestyle changes that have a negative impact on health
Technology and medicine have been able to eradicate certain communicable diseases such as cholera and polio. The average lifespan of people may have increased, but people would agree when we say that a plethora of diseases has entered our lifetimes. And that includes Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, depression, and certain types of cancer. Developing countries like India are not far behind. India is said to be the diabetes capital of the world with figures reaching alarming proportions. Then there is obesity, the main risk factor for health which is determined by the amount of fat stored in the body. A person who appears to be of normal height or thin could in fact be considered obese. It is obesity that prevents people from leading productive lives, exposing them to coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breathing problems, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain.
A change in lifestyle brings about changes in all aspects of life, including a change in diet where one tends to consume more unhealthy foods. Physical activity takes a back seat. We start to lead a rather sedentary life. The need of the hour is therefore to adopt an appropriate food intake and for sedentary adults, foods with low energy density, high in fiber and containing a lot of vegetables and adequate physical activity would go a long way in ensuring satiety and maintaining a good health. That means no to that decadent slice of cheesecake in your fridge!
Women, especially career-oriented women, are no strangers to lifestyle diseases. In India, the prevailing need for double income in most cities forces women to go to work. The woman feels responsible for meeting the needs of her family and at the same time, she must perform well in her workplace. Long working hours, juggling home and career causes them to succumb to lifestyle diseases, often at an early age. In addition, his health is compromised. A 2009 survey found that women as young as 35 had diabetes and high blood pressure. The situation remains grim, however.
Obesity is not uncommon in children these days. Junk food addiction, an unhealthy obsession with smartphones, and a generation of couch potatoes are pushing out of physical activity, giving birth to teens and even younger children battling obesity. Obesity is the root cause of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health problems. School officials and parents are expected to monitor children’s junk food consumption and time spent on phones or watching television. Ironically, according to a very recent newspaper report, support groups formed on social media sites have helped obese people cope with their obesity and lower their body mass index by a value of 0.64.
Lifestyle diseases are chronic and long term. They can, however, be avoided – albeit to a certain extent. No one wants to get bogged down in illness and miss out on “life”. A 51-year-old mother of two, who has lived with diabetes since 2003, says it is one of the most depressing illnesses to experience. She argues that a stress-free life, combined with proper diet and exercise, helps maintain blood sugar levels. Indeed, as hard as it may seem to incorporate, a good diet, adequate sleep and exercise will do wonders for your physical and mental health. Therefore, one has to motivate oneself to let go of the bad and embrace the good. Moderation is the key. As everyone knows, alcohol abuse and smoking can cause irreparable damage to health. So go ahead, take it one step at a time and change your life!