London, Jan 12 (ANI): Indian economic growth would not be able to flourish properly unless quick action is taken to improve the health of its growing population, suggests a report.
The report has stated that India is in infancy of a chronic disease epidemic that affects the health of both rich and poor people and calls for a comprehensive national health system to be set up by 2020, reports the BBC.
Lead author Vikram Patel from the Sangath Centre in Goa, wrote, "Rapidly improving socio-economic status in India is associated with a reduction of physical activity and increased rates of obesity and diabetes," report paper on chronic diseases and injuries.'
The report has alarmed that Indians are growing wealthier but exercising less and indulging in fatty foods.
They also risk injury by driving more often and faster on the country's notoriously dangerous roads, often under the influence of alcohol.
"The emerging pattern in India is characterised by an initial uptake of harmful health behaviours in the early phase of socio-economic development," said the report.
Patel and other authors have argued that the only solution to the problem is better education, as bad habits are likely to decline once people become aware of risks to their health.
The report has stated that overall the poor in India are the most vulnerable to diseases. Moreover, they are burdened by having to pay for healthcare in a country where health indicators lag behind its impressive economic growth figures.
The study also said that it is important that India, with its fast-growing population soon exceeding 1.2 billion, takes steps to prevent illnesses such as heart or respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes.
The report has been published by the British medical journal, The Lancet. (ANI)