14 Dec 2012
New Delhi, India.
Chulhas Worst Health Hazard: Global Survey
First the good news: Indians are living much longer than they did 40 years ago. Between 1970 and 2010, the life expectancy at birth of an average Indian male has gone up by 15 years to 63 years and that of an Indian woman by 18 years to 67.5.
However, the number of years they stay healthy is much less. An Indian male can expect to be in good health only till he reaches the age of 54.6 years and battle various ailments for the last nine years of his life. On the other hand, the average Indian woman is likely to spend the last 10.4 years of her life in poor health.
The Global Burden of Disease Study, 2010, the largest ever study to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries and health risk factors, says that a common practice in Indian households – mainly in rural settings of burning wood, coal and animal dung as fuel in chulhas – has proved to be the greatest enemy for Indians. While globally, high blood pressure is the single biggest causative agent of disease, it is indoor air pollution (IAP) for Indians.
The other threats to normal Indians include a diet low in fruits, high blood glucose levels, alcohol use, iron deficiency, sub optimal breast feeding, low physical activity and occupational injuries.
Tobacco smoking, including second–hand smoke, caused nearly 6.3 million deaths across the globe. With India being one of the world’s major tobacco users, most of these deaths may have happened here.
Lower back pain, a common phenomenon among Indians, was found to be the leading cause of years lived with disability globally.
Compared to 1970, average Indian woman now lives till 67.5 yrs, 18 years more; man till 63, nearly 15 yrs more
Globally, women’s life expectancy up by 12 yrs (73), men by 11 (67.5). Men in Iceland live longest, up to 80 yrs; women in Japan live to 86
...BUT NOT HEALTHIER
Indian women have a healthy life expectancy of 57 years, meaning the last 10 years are spent in poor health. Last 8–9 years painful for men
Globally, healthy expectancy increased by 3.9 years for men and 4 years for women from 1990 to 2010Top 10 risk factors for disease in 2010
High blood pressure, smoking/second-hand smoke, alcohol, household air pollution, low fruit intake
ASIA MAINLY INDIA
Household air pollution from solid fuels, smoking/second hand smoke, high blood pressure, childhood underweight, low fruit intake