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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 109-112

Occupational lifestyle diseases: An emerging issue


Occupational Medicine Division, National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), Meghani Nagar, Ahmedabad - 380 016, India

Correspondence Address:
Mukesh Sharma
Scientist-B, Occupational Medicine Division, National Institute of Occupational Health, Meghani Nagar, Ahmedabad - 380 016
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.58912

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Lifestyle diseases characterize those diseases whose occurrence is primarily based on the daily habits of people and are a result of an inappropriate relationship of people with their environment. The main factors contributing to lifestyle diseases include bad food habits, physical inactivity, wrong body posture, and disturbed biological clock. A report, jointly prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Economic Forum, says India will incur an accumulated loss of $236.6 billion by 2015 on account of unhealthy lifestyles and faulty diet. According to the report, 60% of all deaths worldwide in 2005 (35 million) resulted from noncommunicable diseases and accounted for 44% of premature deaths. What's worse, around 80% of these deaths will occur in low and middle-income countries like India which are also crippled by an ever increasing burden of infectious diseases, poor maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies. According to a survey conducted by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ASSOC-HAM), 68% of working women in the age bracket of 21-52 years were found to be afflicted with lifestyle ailments such as obesity, depression, chronic backache, diabetes and hypertension. The study 'Preventive Healthcare and Corporate Female Workforce' also said that long hours and working under strict deadlines cause up to 75% of working women to suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder, compared to women with lesser levels of psychological demand at work. The study cited scientific evidence that healthy diet and adequate physical activity - at least 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days a week - helped prevent NCDs. In India, 10% of adults suffer from hypertension while the country is home to 25-30 million diabetics. Three out of every 1,000 people suffer a stroke. The number of deaths due to heart attack is projected to increase from 1.2 million to 2 million in 2010. The diet [or lifestyle] of different populations might partly determine their rates of cancer, and the basis for this hypothesis was strengthened by results of studies showing that people who migrate from one country to another generally acquire the cancer rates of the new host country, suggesting that environmental [or lifestyle factors] rather than genetic factors are the key determinants of the international variation in cancer rates. Some of the common diseases encountered because of occupational lifestyle are Alzheimer's disease, arteriosclerosis, cancer, chronic liver disease/cirrhosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, nephritis/CRF, and stroke. Occupational lifestyle diseases include those caused by the factors present in the vicinity like heat, sound, dust, fumes, smoke, cold, and other pollutants. These factors are responsible for allergy, respiratory and hearing problems, and heat or cold shock. So, A healthy lifestyle must be adopted to combat these diseases with a proper balanced diet, physical activity and by giving due respect to biological clock. Kids spending too much time slouched in front of the TV or PCs, should be encourage to find a physical sport or activity they enjoy. Fun exercises should be encouraged into family outings. A pizza-and-video evening should be replaced for a hike and picnic. Kids who do participate in sport, especially at a high competitive level, can find the pressure to succeed very stressful. To decrease the ailments caused by occupational postures, one should avoid long sitting hours and should take frequent breaks for stretching or for other works involving physical movements.






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