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Indian Express
10 February, 2010

ROUND 40 per cent of EST bus drivers and conducors tested for chronic disease uffer from hypertension and ost of them were not even ware of the disease, accordng to a study.

The first–year MBBS stu ents from the Seth G S Medcal College, attached to the ing Edward Memorial KEM) Hospital, tested 500 EST employees over the ast three days at various de ots in the city. Around 200 mployees were found to be uffering from hypertension.

Roughly about 40 per cent 200) of the tested employees ad hypertension and most ere not even aware of it. Hy ertension among them was igher after the journey as driers have to be alert all the time and conductors have to deal with various types of commuters. They run the ‘lifeline’ of the city and ironically are at the highest risk of chronic diseases,” said Dr Anita Agrawal, coordinator of the project and associate professor, department of physiology, KEM Hospital.

“We will further analyse the type of hypertension. The KEM will provide free counselling to these employees,” Dr Agrawal said.

As many as 10 medical students went to bus depots at Vikhroli, Ghatkopar and Deonar and measured blood pressure of the BEST employees. The students also conducted yoga sessions, played bingo and cricket match to de–stress them.

KEM is one of the six medical colleges studying chronic disease among various groups as part of inter–medical–college challenge in the city. Like KEM students, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College in Parel is working with the Mumbai Police officials while Terna Medical College (TMC) is working with BPO employees under a project called ‘D Stress’. Similarly, B Y L Nair College will study hypertension levels among school children, and LTMG Hospital (Sion) College among housewives of Dosti Acres at Wadala, while JJ College will focus on colleges in south Mumbai.

Meanwhile, students from TMC have found out that 64 per cent of 440 Navi Mumbaibased BPO employees, aged between 21–32 years, were habitual to smoking while 27.7 per cent had regular drinking habits. Besides, 22.7 per cent workers were overweight, 9 per cent obese and 13.2 per cent were underweight while approximately 70.9 per cent of the employees had have normal blood pressure, the TMC students found out.

They also found 24 per cent of them to be hypertensive. “As a measure to help the employees combat these chronic lifestyle diseases, the (D Stress) team assisted the BPO canteen staff in designing a healthy menu. They also recommended work–place interventions to the higher management so that a healthier lifestyle is adopted by their workers,” said Krishna Dubey, coordinator from the Terna Medical College.

“The employees were encouraged to use stairs instead of lifts and specific diet charts were shared with those found overweight or obese,” Dubey added.

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