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Changing lifestyle trends affecting Delhi's heart health: study

7 min read

Poor eating habits, inadequate exercising and a stressful life are pushing a majority of the youth to take respite in unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking, which in turn is making Delhi’s population extremely vulnerable to high cardiac risk.

This was found in a survey of approximately 1,000 respondents, conducted by the Department of Cardiac Sciences at Max Super Speciality Hospital in Saket. The survey looked at lifestyle habits of Delhiites over the age of 20 years.

Habits and health

  • 31% suffer from hypertension while 24% have diabetes in Delhi-NCR
  • 56% of 31-50 years old have hypertension, while 40% in the same age group are diabetic
  • 13.2% Delhiites are morbidly and super obese with BMIs of over 40.1 and 50.1 respectively
  • 80% women do not have normal BMI, but still only 8% women feel exercising can be an outlet for stress. Moreover, 43% women are more likely to be couch potatoes as compared to 33% men
  • More men (53%) are obese than women (50%), but a larger percentage of women (20%) tends to be super obese than men (10%)
  • 31-50 years old are the most unfit in Delhi-NCR. Over 75% of them are overweight, morbidly obese or super obese
  • 31-40 years old have the worst snacking habits, with more than 50% of them admitting to binge-eating or midnight snacking
  • Women (33%) binge-eat at night more than men (29%). Also, more women (29%) have erratic eating habits as compared to men (20%)
  • 57% women are guiltier of being swayed by friends and peers in making food choices as compared to 42% of men
  • 35% women find succour in food as compared to 19% men
  • 21.6% of 30-50 years old today are already facing cardiac issues

Max Healthcare Cardiology chairman K. K. Talwar said: “The aim of the study was to understand prevalent habits and changing lifestyle trends which impact and may explain the deteriorating heart health of the city.”

Alarming results

The survey showed some alarming results. Of the total participants, 50% said they do not get enough sleep and 76% were financially stressed. This seems to lead to binge-eating and frequent smoking.

“Lack of proper sleep coupled with increased alcohol and smoke consumption affect the digestive system and blood pressure, thereby increasing risk factors for heart disease. Increased consumption of junk food along with lack of exercise can raise cholesterol levels. This poses great threat to heart health,” noted the study.

Rajeev Rathi, director and head, Transradial Programme-Interventional Cardiology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, said, “Stress has become a way of life for metropolitan cities like Delhi and women are equally affected. But what poses a greater threat is that these women take to unhealthy habits for respite. Be it smoking, alcohol consumption, binge-eating at odd hours or leading a sedentary life — women lead the pack in comparison with men. When it comes to playing a sport or adopting an activity to stay fit, 57% women stated that they preferred to play a mentally-relaxing game on their phones/ tablets instead of sweating it out. All these aspects keep the vicious circle going, thereby increasing the risk of heart ailments among women.”

There is evident correlation between sedentary lifestyle and heart diseases. In this age of technology, most people look for respite from stress and monotony in the comfort of their cosy cabins before they hit roads full of traffic on the way back home. The study noted that in place of outdoor activity, 50% people like indulging in mentally-challenging games on their phones, tablets and computers. Over 58% do not get any exercise throughout the week.

High Body Mass Index

Rajiv Aggarwal, senior director, Cardiology, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, said, “Poor lifestyle and unhealthy habits are being picked up at a very early age and this is greatly responsible for the degrading heart health. In Delhi, 72% of residents have high Body Mass Index, which makes them prone to heart disease.”

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